during curling action at the Brier in Calgary

during curling action at the Brier in Calgary

Northern Ontario clinches playoff berth

Brad Jacobs was excited about the arrival of his wife Shawna and infant daughter Camille in Calgary on Wednesday. Clinching a berth very early in the premiere playoff game at the Tim Hortons Brier? That too, when he found out. “Thanks for letting me know,” the Northern Ontario skip said. “That’s a beauty. We’ll take it.”

CALGARY — Brad Jacobs was excited about the arrival of his wife Shawna and infant daughter Camille in Calgary on Wednesday. Clinching a berth very early in the premiere playoff game at the Tim Hortons Brier? That too, when he found out.

“Thanks for letting me know,” the Northern Ontario skip said. “That’s a beauty. We’ll take it.”

If Jacobs and teammates were unaware of the reward that came with a 4-3 win over Saskatchewan’s Steve Laycock in the afternoon draw, it’s because they haven’t thought about anything else on the ice except execution and winning.

At 9-0, the Jacobs rink from Sault Ste. Marie looks a lot like that coldly intense team that won Olympic gold in Sochi, Russia, just over a year ago.

Of the 82 ends they’ve played at this year’s Canadian men’s curling championship, they’ve trailed in just one — back in their second game against Alberta.

“Physically, emotionally, I don’t think we could feel any better as a team,” Jacobs said.

With five draws remaining, the reigning Olympic champions not only secured a playoff berth early, but assured themselves a spot in the playoff between the top two seeds.

Jacobs, Ryan Fry and the front end of E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden won their first Canadian championship two years ago and went onto win the world title as well.

The top four teams at the conclusion of the preliminary round Friday morning make the Page playoffs. The winner of Friday’s playoff game between the top two seeds advances directly to Sunday’s final.

The loser drops to Saturday’s semifinal to face the winner of the playoff between the third and fourth seeds earlier that day.

The last time team to tun the table en route to a Canadian championship was Alberta’s Kevin Martin in Calgary in 2009. Ontario’s Glenn Howard went 11-0 in the preliminary round the following year, but lost in the final.

Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador got to a record of 7-2 with a pistol of a shot on his final throw against Alberta’s Kevin Koe. An intricate double raise double takeout for an 8-7 victory kept Gushue very much in playoff contention and had the skip pumping his fist.

“I guess it would be a double-raise, double-around-the-horn something or other,” was Gushue’s description of that shot. “I’m not going to lie. I think I’m a really good curler, but I’m not going to make that too many times.

“I think in that situation, with a shot to win a game at the Brier and really a very meaningful game at the end of the week when you’re talking playoff situations, one in a hundred.”

Quebec’s Jean-Michel Menard and Team Canada’s John Morris were are tied at 6-3 and Saskatchewan’s Steve Laycock is 5-3 heading into Thursday.

Alberta’s Koe and Manitoba’s Reid Carruthers are both at 4-4. Koe beat his brother Jamie, who skips Northwest Territories, 7-4 in the Wednesday evening draw.

Saskatchewan’s Laycock edged Prince Edward Island’s Adam Casey 7-6 in an extra end after losing two in a row. B.C.’s Jim Cotter dropped to 3-5 after losing 8-3 to Manitoba.

New Brunswick’s Jeremy Mallais beat Ontario’s Mark Kean 9-4 to put both teams at 2-6 alongside P.E.I. Northwest Territories is winless in eight games.

Canada has won four in a row in the two days since Morris demoted himself to third and promoted Pat Simmons to skip.

“Obviously we’re feeling more comfortable and playing a little bit better right from stem to stern which is good,” Simmons said.

Quebec has also won four in a row. Their provincial championship was mid-January. Menard and his teammates live in different communities and hadn’t played any games together since then upon their arrival in Calgary.

“The last game before coming here was the final of our provincial championship so now it’s slowly starting to come to get back together to the kind of game we’ve been playing pretty much all of the season,” Menard said.

Laycock made a spectacular quadruple takeout to lay three in the seventh end against Jacobs. The skip countered with a takeout that cleared the house and forced Saskatchewan to blank the end. It’s been that kind of tournament so far for Northern Ontario.

“We’ve stayed really even-keeled this entire event,” Harnden said. “I think the mental side of our game is matching the technical side.

“That’s where we want to keep the momentum going, keep even-keeled, eliminate the distractions and just focus on the ice and what we have to do on the ice.”

Just Posted

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read