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Team Alberta skip Kevin Koe makes a shot during the 18th draw against team Saskatchewan at the Brier in Brandon, Man. on March, 8, 2019.JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

The 2019 Brier final turned into an intraprovincial battle.

Kevin Koe ousted Brendan Bottcher in the semifinal of Alberta’s provincial men’s championship. They were to meet again Sunday evening with a Canadian title on the line.

“I was hoping the two of us were going to get to play each other in the provincial, but I’ll take the Brier final,” Bottcher said Sunday.

Bottcher made a pistol of a triple-raise tap to score two for a 5-4 win over Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs in the afternoon semifinal.

Three-time Brier champion Koe represented Alberta in Brandon.

Bottcher’s team from Edmonton had to beat Toronto’s John Epping in a sudden-death game prior to the main draw to gain entry as a wild-card team.

So the national men’s championship of 16 teams, including all provinces and territories, came down to a duel of two teams from the same province.

“I think it really speaks to the depth we have in Alberta,” Bottcher said.

Bottcher, vice Darren Moulding and front end Brad Thiessen and Karrick Martin reached their second final in as many years. They were Team Alberta when they lost 6-4 to Brad Gushue in Regina in 2018.

Down 4-3, Bottcher blanked the eight and ninth ends to retain hammer coming home. Jacobs attempted a hit and roll underneath cover to hold Bottcher to just one point and force an extra end.

But his shooter rolled too far to stay in play.

Bottcher still had a difficult shot for the win, but he and Moulding had been calling the right lines all game for their powerful sweepers.

Northern Ontario’s shooting percentage was 93 and wild card’s was 91 in a suspenseful semifinal.

“In a game like that where it’s just a really good back-and-forth curling game, it’s hard to be too disappointed,” Jacobs said. “Obviously we are disappointed we’re not playing in the final.

“He threw a great stone. Made a great shot and we’ve had that happen to us in bonspiels, big events. It’s all good. It’s part of the game.

“Take the good with the bad and you’ve got to swallow your losses. Be a man and move on.”

For Jacobs, it was yet another Canadian championship where his team started strong, but couldn’t quite finish.

They cruised to an 8-0 start, but lost four of their last five games of the tournament.

Since winning a national title in 2013, his team from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., has made the playoffs each of the last five years.

They went undefeated in 2016, but lost a playoff game and the semifinal. They fell to Pat Simmons in the 2015 final after going 11-1.

“I think we’re on the right track,” Jacobs said. “We’re moving forward. We’re progressing. We’re still learning how to get better. We’re very, very close.”

Koe went undefeated through the preliminary and championship pools before a decisive 9-4 win over Jacobs in the Page playoff between the top two seeds Saturday.

Bottcher foiled Gushue’s chance at a Brier three-peat beating him 7-2 in the Page three-four game.

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