First the Tim Hortons Brier, and now the Olympics.
Brad Jacobs and his Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., team have earned the right to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia after their 7-4 victory over John Morris at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by Monsanto, on Sunday afternoon at the MTS Centre.
“This is incredible. What a special team we have. To go and win the Brier last year and now win the Trials is unbelievable,” Jacobs said. “I never thought that this would ever happen for a second.”
Jacobs and teammates Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden, alternate Caleb Flaxey and coach Tom Coulterman, probably realized their Olympic dreams could come true after the ninth end. Jacobs led Morris of Vernon/Kelowna, B.C., 5-4 at that point and Jim Cotter (throwing fourth stones for Morris) drew to the top four, tempting Jacobs with a difficult slash double for two. The Jacobs team nailed the double to take a 7-4 lead and ran Morris out of rocks in the 10th.
Morris knew it would be pretty hard to defeat the Jacobs team, who had been so accurate with their hits all week long.
“They made everything against us in the first game with all of their hits,” Morris said. “Same thing this game and we didn’t put enough heat on them to get more points. It’s frustrating because I thought we had a better chance but we didn’t play the way we could of.
Morris and his team of Cotter, Tyrel Griffith, Rick Sawatsky, alternate Jason Gunnlaugson and coach Pat Ryan, struggled in the game that mattered most. The team shot 81 per cent compared to the Jacobs team’s 92 per cent. Morris, who was heavy on back-to-back draws in the eighth end, put together a 69 per cent game.
“I don’t know if we were out of gas or what it was, but our team seemed to play weaker against Brad,” Morris said.
Jacobs opened the game with a deuce in the first end. Griffith flashed a hit and Jacobs was able to split the house to take the 2-0 lead, which they did not relent. The closest Morris would get to coming back was in the fifth end when Cotter took advantage of a rare Jacobs miss. They set up a deuce to tie the game at 3-3 in an end that looked like Jacobs could come out with the steal.
Jacobs made his way to the final by running the table in the round robin and clinching first place. It is the first time a men’s or women’s team has went undefeated at a Canadian Curling Trials event.
The Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings will always be a memorable experience for Jacobs and his team, but he is still glad it’s over.
“It’s a relief. There was a long wait between games there and that was really hard on us. Our guts were just turning,” he said.
Now Jacobs will join Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones in Sochi, Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Jacobs is no stranger to international competition. He and his team received the silver medal at the 2013 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship and will look to take home gold at the Olympics. Jacobs has also earned the right to compete at the 2014 World Financial Group Continental Cup.
The French version of this story will be available at www.curling.ca/2013roaroftherings-fr/ as soon as possible.