Canada loses first game to Czechs at world curling championships

VICTORIA — Canada is no longer perfect at the world men’s curling championships. But Brad Jacobs’s Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., rink still enjoyed some good fortune Tuesday.

VICTORIA — Canada is no longer perfect at the world men’s curling championships.

But Brad Jacobs’s Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., rink still enjoyed some good fortune Tuesday.

Jiri Snitil of the Czech Republic beat Jacobs 6-4 in the morning draw, handing Canada its first loss after five straight victories.

The loss ended Jacobs’s winning streak at 11 games dating to the Brier, and terminated Canada’s tenure as the last unbeaten rink in the 12-nation event.

“It was their day,” Jacobs said. “It wasn’t ours. It’s very frustrating — and a horrible performance. We’ll get it back.”

In an afternoon game, Scotland’s David Murdoch beat Russia’s Andrey Drozdov 6-4. Murdoch, a two-time world champion, drew even with Canada at 5-1, while the Russians dropped to 1-6.

But the damage to Canada could have been much worse.

Three of Jacobs’s rivals lost in the afternoon, so the Canadian rink’s struggles were not as untimely as they might have been.

Niklas Edin’s Swedish rink was upset 10-8 by Japan (2-4).

Sweden (5-2) missed a chance to gain sole possession of first place, pending the result of Canada’s game against Norway at night.

China (4-3) also missed a chance to match Canada’s win total when Rui Liu’s previously consistent rink was hammered 10-4 by Brad Clark of the U.S. (2-4).

The Americans made up for an embarrassing six-end loss to Canada the night before.

It was China’s second loss of the day after Liu fell 5-4 to Thomas Ulsrud of Norway in the morning.

Even the Czechs (3-4) helped the Canadians later as they fell 6-5 to Denmark’s Rasmus Stjerne (4-2).

Until then, the Czechs appeared poised for a rise as they ended Jacobs’ win streak, which included six straight victories at the Brier in early March.

“It’s super beating one of the best teams in the world,” said Snitil, before he was disappointed later.

The Czechs caught a break in the ninth end when Jacobs missed a raise takeout, allowing Snitil to register a steal of one for a 6-4 lead going into the final end.

Czech misses gave Jacobs a chance for two after Canadian third Ryan Fry drew to the four-foot.

But Jacobs sent his first shot long to rest on the edge of the 12-foot, allowing Snitil to make the double takeout to end the game.

“We had some chances early, maybe, to force them into some tough shots and get a big end,” said Canadian second E.J. Harnden, who shot 95 per cent. “It was just one of those games where we didn’t capitalize when we had the opportunity — and they did.”

Snitil was good on 90 per cent of his shots, while Jacobs curled at a modest 70 per cent.

Jacobs was disappointed with the effort after his rink had made few misses in its first five games.

But he tried to the setback in stride.

“We have been on fire a lot lately,” Jacobs said. “It’s only going to last so long before you end up taking a loss.”

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