Brad Jacobs in action during the Humpty's Champions Cup semifinals in Calgary. (Anil Mungal)

Champions Cup men’s final preview: Jacobs vs. Koe

April 30, 2017, 11:05 AM

CALGARY — Brad Jacobs and Kevin Koe are going to leave it all on the line in the Humpty’s Champions Cup men’s final Sunday.

It’s the last game of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season and the two will be certainly looking to give it all they’ve got before the summer. Both skips shot the lights out just to get to this point this week and you can bet there’s still enough left in the gas tank to put on another show.

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Jacobs was left on the outside looking in for the Humpty’s Champions Cup last season as teams have to win a high-profile tournament to qualify and the 2014 Olympic gold medallist failed to win a single event.

Claiming the College Clean Restoration Curling Classic in September put Jacobs in the running for one of the World Curling Tour invitations and capturing the Boost National — his second career Grand Slam title — in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in December punched his Humpty’s Champions Cup ticket for good.

The team of Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden will play in their fourth Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling final this season alone as they also finished runner-up at the WFG Masters in October and the Princess Auto Elite 10 last month.

“It’s really cool to make so many finals, but we’re 1-2 in finals,” Jacobs said. “We’ve been in a ton of finals as a team and to be honest with you we want to go out there and we want to win this whole thing.

“We’re going to do everything we possibly can to win because you get sick of losing finals especially in Grand Slams. We’re going to try and go out there, hopefully get a handle on the ice early, make a lot of shots and hopefully win the last game of the season.”

Team Jacobs went 3-1 through round-robin play with their only blemish being a close loss to Peter de Cruz after the Swiss side scored two in the final end to win 6-5. Jacobs outlasted Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen 9-8 during the quarterfinals and defeated Toronto’s John Epping 9-5 in the semifinals to advance to the championship game.

The local favourites Team Koe have been just as sharp as they went 3-1 through the round-robin portion as well with their lone loss coming against Epping in an extra end. Koe beat former teammate John Morris of Vernon, B.C., 7-2, in the quarters and dropped a gem on Sweden’s Niklas Edin with the final shot of the semis winning 6-4 to propel into the final.

Koe trailed by one with the hammer coming home and launched a rocket runback double takeout to score three.

The Calgary-based team of Koe, third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing and lead Ben Hebert will compete in their first Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling final this season and their first since capturing the Tour Challenge Tier 1 in September 2015. They’re among the most decorated curlers in series history with a combined 40 championships.

Team Koe is ready to put it all out there against Team Jacobs with the home crowd on their side and a grand prize of $40,000 for the winner up for grabs.

“It always takes your best game to beat those guys,” Laing said. “We have a lot of fun playing against them. There’s a lot of mutual respect back and forth.

“We’ve had a lot great games against them, wins and losses. It’s fun to play against the best and they’re one of the best for sure, so it’s going to be a great way to end the season. A big game and in the hometown here for Team Koe in Calgary against Team Jacobs for big bucks, so yeah it’s going to be awesome.”

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