Mike McEwen and Team Saskatchewan will have a long road ahead of them if they want to end the province's 44-year title drought at the Montana's Brier.

Saskatchewan faced Alberta's Brendan Bottcher in a back-and-forth 1 vs. 2 Page Playoff qualifying game on Friday afternoon in Regina. McEwen scored one in the first end and the teams traded deuces for the next five ends with Bottcher leading 6-5 after six. After a blank in the seventh, Bottcher stole two in the eighth to jump out to an 8-5 lead. McEwen got two back in the ninth to trail 8-7, and Bottcher picked up a single in the tenth to advance to Saturday's 1 vs. 2 game to face defending champion Brad Gushue, who defeated Manitoba's Reid Carruthers 9-7 in the other qualifying game.

McEwen rebounded from the loss with a 7-0 shutout win over Jamie Koe and the Northwest Territories on Friday night to advance to the 3 vs. 4 Page Playoff game against Manitoba's Matt Dunstone, who defeated Carruthers 6-2 in the other 3/4 qualifier. That game will be at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at the Brandt Centre with the winner advancing to Sunday's semi-final against the loser of the 1 vs. 2 game. The winner of the 1/2 game will advance directly to the final on Sunday night at 6:00 p.m.