Kevin Koe and Team Canada scored singles in the first two ends and went on to beat Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario 6-2 in a Page 3-4 playoff game interrupted for about an hour by a power outage Saturday at the Tim Hortons Brier.
Koe, vice-skip Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing, lead Ben Hebert, alternate Scott Pfeifer and coach John Dunn will now have a break before playing Mike McEwen of Manitoba (Winnipeg) in the 8:30 p.m. NST semifinal later on Saturday.
Koe said during a TSN interview that the quick turnaround shouldn’t be a major issue since they sometimes play back-to-back games in Grand Slam events.
The winner of the semifinal moves on to play Brad Gushue of Newfoundland/Labrador (St. John’s) in Sunday’s 8 p.m. gold-medal game.
Gushue, searching for his first Tim Hortons Brier title, earned his second straight trip to the final by beating McEwen 7-5 in Friday’s Page 1-2 playoff game. Last year he lost to Koe in the final.
Jacobs, with vice-skip Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Lee Toner and coach Caleb Flaxey, drops into the bronze-medal game Sunday at 3 p.m. against the loser of the semifinal.
“We missed a few line calls that could have turned out great for us if we made them,” Jacobs said of the loss. “That was the big difference in that game.”
It was one of those missed line calls that gave Koe and Co. their steal in two.
“That sucks,” said Jacobs of the missed runback. “We had that shot made. I liked it because I’m confident in my ability to make those type of shots. Just not the right line call.
“We need to take advantage of things like that if you want to win the Brier, not miss them. That just goes to show how our week was, we just weren’t sharp as we needed to be.”
The power outages that hit St. John’s throughout the day because of winds gusting up to 160 km/h hit Mile One Arena just as the third end concluded.
It took about 25 minutes to restore full power. Practice rocks thrown by the skips showed the ice had slowed noticeably so the sheet was scraped and re-pebbled and teams were given a six-minute practice.
Both teams said the outage that ultimately delayed the game for about 70 minutes, had no major impact on the outcome.
“The guys handled it really well, taking an hour break when they had the momentum,” said Pfeifer. “That’s why we have John Dunn, a sports psychologist who does a fantastic job getting the guys ready for the game. He just had to do it twice today.”
“It had no effect on us,” added Jacobs. “We were already behind the 8-ball at that point. Everybody did a great job getting the game back up and rolling.”
Canada went up 3-0 lead after another steal in the fifth, again when Jacobs didn’t make a runback.
The steal in five was particularly costly. Northern Ontario was looking at scoring two, possibly three. Instead the runback was wide and took out both Northern Ontario stones and left Canada the steal.
Northern Ontario got on the scoreboard with two in the sixth but Canada got one back in eight and ended the game by stealing two in the ninth.
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.