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Team Canada opens Ford Worlds with win over China

Canada’s Brad Jacobs opened his first trip to the Ford World Men’s Championship. presented by Booster Juice, in style on Saturday afternoon at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

Jacobs’ team from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., turned back China’s Rui Liu 7-6 in the opening draw of the 2013 Ford Worlds, and did it in style, shooting a cumulative 94 per cent as a team.

Team Canada skip Brad Jacobs delivers a shot during his team’s win over China on Saturday. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

“It feels real good to come out with a win in our first game, against a good team, too,” said Jacobs, who finished with a team-high 96 shooting percentage. “We curled really well. We made all the shots we had to make, we got some misses out of China and we capitalized on the misses. That’s curling. That’s what you have to do.”

Canada, which returns to action on Sunday at 9 a.m. (all times Pacific) against Finland’s Aku Kauste (0-1) was never really threatened by the Chinese. Jacobs made a wonderful hit-and-roll in the first end to force Liu to draw for a single to open the scoring, and then Canada struck back quickly in the second end when Jacobs made a draw to score a go-ahead pair.

Canada — the team is rounded out by third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden (who made the shot of the game, a runback double takeout in the 10th end), lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Matt Dumontelle and coach Tom Coulterman, would add single-point steals in the fourth and fifth ends, and then broke the game open by scoring three in the seventh end.

“That just opened the game up so that we could run them out of rocks, which we’re good at,” said Jacobs. “We gave up a deuce and then a steal, but still a simple shot to win the game. That three was huge to open the game up for us.”

Jacobs and his teammates enjoyed the experience of being the focal point of the crowd for the first time in their career.

“You could really feel the crowd, you could feel a little buzz the whole game,” said Jacobs.  We’ve never experienced that before. It was really special for us. The crowd, they were cheering for even the simplest shots that we would make. We appreciate it.”

In the other Draw 1 games, Sweden’s Niklas Edin took four in the ninth end for a 7-6 win over Finland; the Czech Republic’s Jiri Snitil took three in the ninth and stole one in the 10th for an 8-5 upset win over Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud; and Switzerland’s Sven Michel was a 6-4 victor over Russia’s Andrey Drozdov.

The Swedes trailed most of the way against their Scandinavian neighbours before the ninth-end comeback.

“It feels good to come back to win,” said Edin. “We had a terrible start — I had a terrible start, I missed everything at the beginning and they played some really nice shots. We got a fortunate mistake by their team so we could win the game. We were lucky to win there, for sure.”

The Czechs, meanwhile, were able to stand in against the more experienced Norwegian team, and saved their best for late in the game.

“Patience was the key,” said Snitil. “We read the ice better than the Norwegians, they struggled sometimes. This is just the first game — first win. We have 10 games to go.”

The young Swiss team was able to withstand some early nerves to handle the Russians.

“We were a little bit nervous before this game, but we’re really happy that it worked out,” said Michel. “This is our first time at a World Championship and we just weren’t sure how it would go. The crowd was really noisy and it was really exciting, plus we made some good shots which made it even more fun.

The 2013 Ford Worlds continue on Saturday with the second draw at 7 p.m. On Sunday, draws are scheduled for 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

For more event information, including rosters and the official draw, and to purchase tickets, go to: www.curling.ca/championships/worlds/.

Live scoring and standings are available at: www.curling.ca/scoreboard/?e=12

TSN/RDS, the official broadcast partner of the Canadian Curling Association, will provide live coverage of Canada’s round-robin games, in addition to all playoff games.