Boost National Live: Einarson, Jacobs win Boost National titles

December 11, 2016, 4:00 PM

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — Kerri Einarson has turned her season around all the way to capturing her first career Grand Slam title.

Einarson earned the Boost National championship Sunday by defeating Silvana Tirinzoni 5-3 in the women’s final.

The East St. Paul, Man., team of Einarson, third Selena Kaatz, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish missed the playoffs at the first two Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament of the season. They were routed in their first game of the Boost National, coincidentally falling to Tirinzoni 7-1, before righting the ship to win six straight.

“It’s really exciting,” Fyfe said. “It’s a little unexpected, to be honest, but it’s super fun and super exciting.

“It means a lot. We kind of lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year in what we were doing so I think this just gives us a really good boost for the new year and to just keep going and rolling with this. I think it will really help us.”

Einarson broke a 3-3 tie scoring two in the seventh and ran her opponent out of rocks in the eighth as she punched out Tirinzoni’s lone stone in the house with her last during the final frame.

“That last shot, I felt it, just threw it and had goose bumps right down my whole entire body when I saw it go down the ice,” Einarson said. “This is truly amazing and I couldn’t be happier.”

Tirinzoni was in charge during the first half forcing Einarson to settle for a single in the second with an open hit while facing three. The Swiss skip took two in the third and made Einarson throw a draw for a single in the fourth against three counters again. Einarson made the high-pressure shot hitting against backing to count one and tie it 2-2 heading into halftime.

The tables turned to Einarson’s favour in the fifth as she stole one for the lead when Tirinzoni attempted a slash double, but the first counter jammed and stuck around while the shooter rolled out.

“That was a huge steal in that end,” Einarson said. “It definitely felt like the momentum shifted there. When we got our two in seven I just knew coming home in eight we were going to be good.”

Tirinzoni drew for one in the sixth to knot it up again 3-3. Einarson splitit up in seven and it paid off for her as Tirinzoni missed a double allowing her to ease her last in and up by two. Einarson ran Tirinzoni out of rocks in eight.

The Aarau, Switzerland, team of Tirinzoni, second Esther Neuenschwander and lead Marlene Albrecht had Cathy Overton-Clapham filling in at third with Manuela Siegrist out due to a knee injury. Overton-Clapham, from Winnipeg, was a super spare in the past with two Grand Slam titles over the last couple seasons as a sub winning the 2014 Masters with Val Sweeting and the 2016 Players’ Championship with Eve Muirhead.

Coincidentally, both teams were champions in the series last season and at the same event. Tirinzoni captured her first career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title in the Tour Challenge Tier 1 division while Einarson earned the Tier 2 trophy to move up into the elite ranks where’s she stayed put and proven she belongs.


JACOBS STEALS TO WIN HOMETOWN BOOST NATIONAL

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — The hometown Grand Slam championship curse has been lifted.

Following two seasons that saw local favourite teams fall in several finals — including Brad Jacobs at the 2014 National at the Essar Centre — the reigning Olympic gold medallist avenged the heartbreak by capturing the Boost National title in front of his friends, family and fans.

Jacobs broke a tie stealing one in the sixth and swiped another in eight to edge Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers 4-2 in Sunday’s final.

“This is one of the events we were most looking forward to all season and to come out here in our hometown and put on a great show for everyone and win the event it’s like a dream come true for us,” Jacobs said. “It really is. You don’t get too many opportunities to play in front of your hometown crowd in a big event. We were able to do that and capitalize on it. This was overall huge for our team.”

Having his family among the cheering crowd was extra special as well.

“It’s a special feeling to win at home,” Jacobs said. “To have them a part of it and right there with us is very special.”

It’s the second Grand Slam title as a team for Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden following their 2015 Players’ Championship win. Fry also captured the National in 2010 with Team Brad Gushue. Coach Caleb Flaxey earned his second Grand Slam of season after also being behind the bench for his wife Allison Flaxey’s WFG Masters win in October.

The recent Canada Cup winner Carruthers opened with the hammer and looked to blank with a tricky hit and roll through a narrow port. He connected with Jacobs’s counter, but his shooter stuck around at the edge of the rings for a single.

Carruthers made a beauty double hit in the third, just missing his own guard to kick out Jacobs’s shot rock and push aside his second far enough to force Jacobs to draw to the button for one.

Facing three counters in the house during the fourth, Carruthers was also limited to a single by landing on the lid with his last. Carruthers hit and rolled open on the other side of a cluster of rocks in the house during the fifth, opening a window for Jacobs to go for two, but he couldn’t cash in the break as his last was light for just one.

Carruthers’s last in the seventh was light out of his hands and his teammates were unable to drag it into the house far enough to count shot to give up steal. He blanked the seventh end to retain the hammer coming home for the final frame.

Jacobs made a clutch throw with his last to set up a triangle of counters and Carruthers was unable to hit and roll in for shot.

“We put a rock in there and made it really tough on him to score and he pretty much threw a perfect shot and still didn’t get in there for his single so that shows you how tough of a shot we made him have to make,” Jacobs said. “Just thrilled to get the win.”

Carruthers was fresh off of winning the Canada Cup last week — clinching a berth for next year’s Olympic Trials — and rolled through to the final winning six straight.

Jacobs also reached the final at the WFG Masters earlier this season falling to Niklas Edin of Sweden.

Northern Ontario as a whole has been taking over the curling scene across the board. Jacobs is a perennial contender at the Brier, winning in 2013 and medalling at the past two. Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay earned silver at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts this past season and reached the semifinals in the Boost National women’s division. Tracy Fleury of Sudbury is ranked among the top 10 women’s teams in the world while her younger brother Tanner Horgan, the Canadian junior silver medallist, made his Grand Slam series debut at the Boost National. Trevor Bonot of Thunder Bay also recently skipped his squad to the national mixed title.

“There are a lot of great teams in men’s, women’s, juniors and mixed in Northern Ontario and it’s great to see,” Jacobs said. “We’re just happy that if we’re inspiring people to go out there and go after their dreams in curling, then that’s great. That’s what we’re here to do and really just wish all of the Northern Ontario teams all the best in the competitions that they’re playing in and hopefully Northern Ontario can have a great year this year.”

NOTES: The Boost National was the third event and second major of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling. … Team Einarson and Team Jacobs cashed in $30,000 each for their wins. … The next event on the schedule is the Meridian Canadian Open running Jan. 3-8 in North Battleford, Sask.

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