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Eleventh end single gives Northern Ontario Tim Hortons Brier bronze medal

OTTAWA — Brad Jacobs had a tough time getting up for the Tim Hortons Brier bronze-medal game Sunday and he was short on the house on his first draw, but he and his Northern Ontario teammates got it together in time to get past Mike McEwen of Manitoba 7-6 in 11 ends.

“This raises our spirits a little bit — coming back out here, playing well and winning a bronze medal I think is something we will be proud of,” the former champion said of the win that came after losing the Page 1-2 game Friday and the semifinal Saturday. “It feels good. We were really feeling the pain of those two losses last night. It’s nice to go out there and put together a performance we can be proud of.”

Jacobs drew the four-foot with final stone to get the winning single.

“It was nice to have that shot to win the game, hit the four-foot,” he said.

After frustratingly failing to get a deuce in 10 ends in his semifinal loss Saturday, Jacobs got two of them Sunday, along with back-to-back single steals in the fourth and fifth ends to win $51,000 and 53.840 Canadian Team Ranking System points for third place.

Jacobs had gone unbeaten, 11-0, through the round robin but lost the Page 1-2 game, 7-6 in 11 ends to Newfoundland-Labrador. Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Lee Toner and coach Caleb Flaxey then lost the semifinal to Alberta 6-5 to drop him into the bronze-medal game.

McEwen, third B.J. Neufeld, second Matt Wozniak, lead Denni Neufeld and alternate Jon Mead were in the bronze game after losing 7-5 to Alberta in the Page 3-4 game Saturday. They took home $41,000 and 38.005 CTRS points for fourth place.

Manitoba skip Mike McEwen directs traffic during the bronze-medal game on Sunday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Manitoba skip Mike McEwen directs traffic during the bronze-medal game on Sunday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

“Got a really good break to start but always kind of one shot away from putting together a good end through the middle and then we were in a situation where we had to claw back so it was out of hands,” said McEwen. “Couldn’t make eight shots in an end … tough to win that way.”

Manitoba stole two in the first end when Jacobs came up short of the house with his last-rock draw but the veteran Northern Ontario skip drew the four foot in the second end to get those points back.

Jacobs stole singles in the next two ends, both times when McEwen got to Northern Ontario’s buried shot rock but didn’t move it quite enough to get shot himself.

But he got just enough of both Jacobs stones on a wide double for a deuce in six. Jacobs made a raise takeout for two in eight and McEwen responded with a tight triple for a pair in 10.

“We played well, but we didn’t have our best ever. We needed this experience so this is really good for us going forward the next couple of seasons,” McEwen said of his team’s first appearance in the Tim Hortons Brier.

Brad Gushue of Newfoundland-Labrador will be trying to win his first Tim Hortons Brier championship in 13 trips when he takes on former champion Kevin Koe of Alberta in the gold-medal game at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Northern Ontario skip Brad Jacobs and his young doppelgänger, 11-year-old Owen Henry. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Northern Ontario skip Brad Jacobs and his young doppelgänger, 11-year-old Owen Henry. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

The winner of the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier will represent Canada at the 2016 World Men’s Championship, April 2-10 in Basel, Switzerland, and will also earn berths in the 2016 Home Hardware Canada Cup in Brandon, Man.; the 2017 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Boyd Gaming, in Las Vegas, and the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier in St. John’s.

Additionally, should the Tim Hortons Brier winner earn a medal at the worlds in Switzerland, it will also qualify for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Ottawa — the event that will decide Canada’s four-player teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2016brier/?lang=fr

TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier.