Jamie Koe of Yellowknife had little trouble Thursday night earning his team its first win as the Yukon-Northwest Territory's Men's Curling championship got underway.
Koe, the number one seed out of the N.W.T., opened up the tournament at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre with a decisive 7-1 victory over Greg Skauge's rink, the N.W.T. number two seed.
Pat Paslawski, the Yukon's number one seed, opened up the championship with a 9-8 win over Wade Scoffin's rink, the Yukon's number two seed.
The four teams will play a double-round to determine who will represent the territories in Kamloops, B.C. for the Tim Horton's Brier beginning March 1.
Koe is looking for his eighth trip to the national championship as the northern representative.
"We played a real solid game,” he said in an interview after dominating the opening match. "We controlled every end.”
Koe went into the break with a 3-1 lead but put the matter to bed with four in the seventh. The game was called after eight ends.
To be successful at the Brier, teams need to be firing on all cylinders, which means a successful shooting percentage in the neighbourhood of 90 per cent, said the skip who placed sixth at the national championship last year with five wins and six losses.
In 2012, Koe finished fourth with seven wins and four losses.
He said bringing a solid game to the Brier starts with a solid performance this weekend.
While the team shot below the 90 per cent range last night, Koe said it was still a good showing. And now that they've got the first game under their belts, and have a feel for the Whitehorse ice, he's hoping their game will grow stronger as the round robin progresses.
"It will take a couple of games to get there but hopefully we get there quicker than not,” said Koe.
Paslawski said his goal this weekend is to stay in the hunt right through to Sunday morning for the sixth and final draw when he'll play Koe for the second time in the round robin.
Scoffin opened the scoring last night with one in the first end. Paslawski tied it in the second but the Yukon's number two seed jumped to a 3-2 lead after three.
But Paslawski responded with four in the fourth to go up 6-3.
"Once we got the four-ender we knew all we had to do was play a steady game and not make any big mistakes,” said the skip who represented the territories at the Brier in 1999 when he was shooting third for Orest Peech's rink.'
Peech's son, Paslawski pointed out, is throwing second stones for his team.
"Alexx had a really solid game and made most of his hits.”
Paslawski said the goal is to put the team in a position where the game Sunday morning will mean something.
"Jamie Koe has a really, really strong team,” Paslawski acknowledged. "If we get there, if our sixth game counts, that means we have a chance to go to the Brier.”
Halfway through the second draw that got underway at 10 this morning it was Koe 5, Scoffin 1 and Paslawski 5 and Skuage 3.