Curling is a game of breaks and inches and Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario needed both to go his way Monday to sneak out a difficult 9-5 win over Jamie Koe of Northwest Territories.
The score wasn’t indicative of the game that turned dramatically on one shot in the eighth end. Koe tried a tough double of two Jacobs stones bunched on the outside of the eight-foot, but was slightly wide.
“That was a pretty bad one, that was the difference,” the veteran Yellowknife skip said. “I was trying to make a double and make him draw for one, but ended up wicking him in and giving him a draw for three.
“It’s a little disappointing. We had a great game other than that one shot.”
The result boosted Jacobs and his Sault Ste. Marie team of third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Lee Toner and coach Caleb Flaxey to 3-1 and left Koe winless in four games.
“Jamie threw a bad one in eight and that was the game,” Jacobs admitted. “We got super fortunate there, man. If he hits anywhere on the outside, half a rock and it’s a force (of one) and they’re looking good to win that game.
“I hate to say it but you have to get breaks to do well in this thing. Every game is going to be tough, all these teams are great.”
Jacobs made a raise double in nine to hold Koe to a single and then got a three in 10 to create the misleading final score.
Another veteran skip, Jim Cotter of British Columbia (2-2; Vernon-Kelowna) used his last rock to secure a hard-fought 4-3 win over Jamie Murphy of Nova Scotia (2-2; Halifax).
Cotter, third Jim Morris, second Tyrel Griffith, lead Rick Sawatsky, alternate David Harper and coach Jody Epp were cruising through six ends with a 3-0 lead.
But Murphy scored one in seven and stole singles in eight and nine to tie the game.
“They put some pressure on and we missed a shot there by a sliver or else we’re shaking early,” said Cotter. “That’s curling. The last end I told the guys just leave the outturn draw to the four foot and that’s what they did.”
Cotter, who throws fourth stones while Morris skips, said there was no nervousness as they saw their lead slip away.
“We’ve been through that so many times, you just take a couple of deep breaths and move on.”
Brendan Bottcher of Alberta (Edmonton), meanwhile, got his first win after three losses by scoring two in the sixth and three in the eighth to beat Mike Kennedy of New Brunswick (1-3; Moncton).
The shot of the day belonged to Kennedy although it earned him only a single point and came early in their game.
Facing two Alberta shooters on the edge of the button, with a short and long guards out front, Kennedy smoothly executed a double raise, angled double ta back to turn a possible steal of two by Alberta into a single for New Brunswick.
Jean-Michel Ménard of Quebec (2-2; Lévis) evened his record with an 8-3 win over Adam Casey of Saskatchewan (2-2; Regina).
Manitoba’s Mike McEwen (3-0; Winnipeg), Team Canada’s Kevin Koe (3-0; Calgary); Newfoundland/Labrador’s Brad Gushue (2-1; St. John’s) and Ontario’s Glenn Howard (1-2; Etobicoke) all had byes.
Tonight’s draw goes at 8 p.m. NST.
For ticket and other event information, http://www.curling.ca/2017brier/
For the complete schedule, go to http://www.curling.ca/2017brier/draw/
This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2017brier/?lang=fr
TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier.