Brad Jacobs in action at the Boost National on Dec. 14, 2018, in Conception Bay South, N.L. (Anil Mungal)

Undefeated Jacobs riding the wave into National playoffs

December 14, 2018, 2:59 PM

CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, N.L. — Team Brad Jacobs somehow found a way to keep their perfect record intact at the Boost National wrapping up round-robin play undefeated at 4-0.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., crew earned a wild 7-5 extra-end win Friday over Team Niklas Edin to cool the equally red-hot Swedish side that also entered the match with an unblemished mark.

Team Jacobs continues to carry the momentum from winning the Canada Cup this past Sunday plus their fourth career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title last month at the Tour Challenge.

Both clubs had already qualified for the playoffs following their third wins, but that didn’t stop the magic show. Jacobs needed a Houdini act to escape with this victory pulling an insane pinball shot for the equalizer in eight to force OT and then stole two points without the hammer.

“It feels good,” Jacobs said. “Always nice to win a game even though it’s somewhat meaningless. It’s always nice to play Niklas’s team and get a win. They’re a great team and they’re always a tough opponent. We got a little fortunate with them missing the last one and stole but we’ll take it any way we can get it really.”

Team Jacobs second E.J. Harnden has moved back to third with Ryan Fry taking a break due to personal reasons. Matt Wozniak, who won seven Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling titles with Team McEwen, is filling in at second.

Jacobs said it’s been fantastic playing with Wozniak.

“Just a great, all-around person I would say,” he said. “We’re having a lot of fun with him. He’s very helpful out on the ice. He’s playing great. I think those were the first two shots back-to-back he’s missed all week. He’s playing that good.

“We’re having a blast with him and really enjoying one another’s company. To have played as a team in this event and gone undefeated in the round-robin, I know is special for us and I’m sure it’s special for Matt, too.”

Jacobs added he’s also enjoying playing back end with his cousin again. E.J. Harnden — whose brother Ryan Harnden leads things off on the squad — originally threw third prior to Fry’s arrival in 2012.

“I know E.J. was excited to move up to third and get the opportunity to play back end,” Jacobs said. “It’s been a long time since he has and he was up for the challenge. He knew that it would be a good test and he even said he’s kind of regaining an appreciation for what it’s like to play back end.

“The dynamic between him and I has been awesome all week. He’s been very patient with me and very helpful. I would say he’s played fantastic and we’re having a lot of fun in the back end. He really did transition from second to third very seamlessly, so it’s good to see.”

Edin opened with the hammer and looked at a split for a possible three points. He promoted the guard but his shooter stayed on the doorstep outside and only counted two.

Leaving a point on the table may have been costly as Jacobs played a great second end to take the lead. Edin eyed a tough triple takeout but didn’t get the angles right missing the back two of the triangle spread across the house allowing Jacobs to draw for three.

Jacobs put the hurt on in the third end sitting four stones plus a guard up top forcing Edin into damage control mode. Edin drew and bumped in for the second shot to concede just one point but fell behind 4-2. Edin doubled Jacobs out for a deuce in the fourth to get even heading into the break.

Just when it looked like Jacobs was poised to score big in six, bad breaks on both sides led to misfortune. E.J. Harnden’s second shot picked allowing Edin to recover with a double. Edin’s last also picked but the woes continued as Jacobs’ final rock rolled heavy to hand over a point and the lead.

Jacobs made a ridiculous shot with his last of the eighth with a double raise that bounced across the house off one Edin stone and connected with another to redirect onto the button. Edin kept the extra end open and had to make a draw against two counters but came up light a few inches.

“Well, actually it was all kind of lined up,” Jacobs said about his circus shot. “If we hit it in the right spot, our red was going to go flying into that little pile and obviously we got lucky there being that our rock stuck in the four-foot because it was coming flying in.

“A pretty exciting shot, I guess, to force an extra and make them earn it. It’s not the ideal situation, not the shot that we wanted, but certainly, if you have an opportunity to take advantage of it, it always feels nice.”


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Meanwhile, Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe claimed their third consecutive win to qualify for the playoffs. Koe (3-1) outlasted Toronto’s Team John Epping 8-5.

Koe, who lost his first game against Team Gunnlaugson, said it’s been a good week overall.

“Obviously, we got off to a bit of a hiccup to start losing our first,” he said. “This is our first back-to-back events all year actually, so after the Canada Cup this has been a bit of a grind for us with all the travel.

“A couple of us have some colds that we’re battling, so really happy to come back, backs against the wall, to win our next three and playoff-bound. That’s all you can hope for and then hopefully, we can get hot on the weekend.”

Epping, who defeated Koe in the Canadian Beef Masters men’s final in October, was eliminated at 1-3.

Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones topped Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., 5-4. The defending champion Jones moved up to a 2-1 record with one more round-robin game to go against Team Jamie Sinclair of the U.S. Fleury finished with a 1-3 record.

The Boost National is the fourth event and second major of the 2018-19 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 15 of the top men’s teams and 15 of the top women’s teams from around the world.

Both divisions are split into three pools for round-robin play with the top eight teams overall qualifying for Saturday’s quarterfinals. The semis are also set for Saturday with both finals taking place Sunday.

Round-robin play continues at 4:30 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) with broadcast coverage on Sportsnet and streaming online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

NOTES: Winners of the Boost National collect $30,000 of the $250,000 total purse plus berths to the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season finale Humpty’s Champions Cup. … Points are also on the line for the Pinty’s Cup, which is awarded to the overall season champions following the conclusion of the Players’ Championship in April. … All games are played to eight ends with 33 minutes of thinking time plus two, 90-second timeouts. The five-rock rule is also in effect.

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