Team Jacobs celebrate their victory during the final of the Boost National in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. (Anil Mungal)

Brad Jacobs steals to win Boost National title in hometown

December 11, 2016, 4:23 PM

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 sixth 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.”

The team of Carruthers, third Braeden Moskowy, second Derek Samagalski and lead Colin Hodgson were 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.”

Winnipeg’s Kerri Einarson defeated Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland 5-3 in the women’s final to win her first career Grand Slam title.