BRANDON, Man. – A red-hot Brad Jacobs and Team Northern Ontario (1-0, Sault Ste. Marie) put on a clinic Saturday in rolling to an impressive 10-2, eight-end win over Brendan Bottcher and Team Wild Card (0-1, Edmonton) in the opening draw of the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI.
Jacobs, the 2013 Tim Hortons Brier champion, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Lee Toner and coach Adam Kingsbury scored triples in the second, fifth and seventh ends.
As a team their shooting percentage was 93, the same as Jacobs himself, compared to 81 for Team Wild Card and 59 for Bottcher himself.
“We got a good handle on the ice early and everything that we wanted to have happen, ended up happening,” said a relaxed Jacobs. “Rocks were getting into the spots we wanted and everyone was throwing well, so great start the Brier.
“I would say that this was probably one of the calmness Team Jacobs you’ve seen at a Brier and that can be reflected in the work we’ve done this year with Adam. We’re coming in with a great mindset and everybody’s in a good head space.”
Bottcher, third Darren Moulding, second Brad Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin, got into the main draw by beating John Epping of Toronto 8-4 in the wild-card game Friday evening. But they couldn’t duplicate their performance on Saturday.
“We got a little tricked,” said Bottcher. “I felt the conditions were a bit difference than they were yesterday and it took us a couple of ends to get comfortable and even get comfortable with any sort of semblance of knowing what’s going to happen. And they didn’t give us a whole lot, especially after that early three.
“If ever there was a game where you were going to learn something and come away not too disappointed, losing to Brad Jacobs isn’t an awful one.”
It was a similar feeling for Kirk Muyres and Team Saskatchewan (0-1, Saskatoon) who gave up two in the 10th to lose 7-6 to Mike McEwen and Team Manitoba (1-0, West St. Paul).
“It’s just the way it goes,” Muyres said after his last-rock hit and roll didn’t work out and left McEwen a draw to the four foot for the win. “Not a bad first game really. A team like that will beat you if you don’t finish off strong. Maybe against another team you can get away with that but not against those guys.”
It was a stressful, emotional win for McEwen, third Reid Carruthers, second Derek Samagalski, lead Colin Hodgson, alternate Matt Wozniak and coach Rob Meakin. McEwen was downcast when his first rock draw in the 10th was heavy, but he had a bounce in his step after Muyres missed with his final stone.
“Oh man, running out of time, the heart’s racing and throwing a few Hail Mary’s, nothing better to open the Brier like that,” laughed McEwen, who was racing the clock to finish the game. “Don’t get many that look that exciting and that heart-thumping.”
Martin Crête and Team Quebec (1-0, Lévis) rolled past Jon Solberg and Team Yukon (0-1, Whitehorse) 11-2, and John Likely and Team Prince Edward Island (1-0, Charlottetown) scored two in the 10th to nip Andrew Symonds and Team Newfoundland and Labrador (0-1, St. John’s) 5-4.
The eight teams are in Pool A. The eight Pool B teams take to the ice in Draw 2 this evening.
The 2019 Tim Hortons Brier continues with tonight’s draw at 7 p.m. CST.
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier are available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/
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For ticket information for the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier, go to www.curling.ca/2019brier/tickets.
This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2019brier/?lang=fr