OTTAWA — Brad Jacobs stole three in the third end – thanks largely to Brad Gushue’s final stone catching on some debris – and rode that lead to a 7-4 victory at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Monday evening, erasing most of the bad memories of a last-rock loss a day earlier.
In a battle of Olympic champions at the Canadian Tire Centre – Gushue won in 2006 and Jacobs in 2014 – the most recent gold medallist grabbed the early lead and stubbornly refused to let it go. The win improved Jacobs to 2-1 and dropped Gushue to 2-2.
One sheet over Kevin Koe of Calgary made a last-rock hit-and-stick for two to barely get by Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton (1-2) to remain unbeaten at 4-0.
Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Peter Steski and coach Eric Harnden (filling in for Caleb Flaxey who’s receiving treatment for an infection after recent hip surgery), took a single in the second and although the pick was costly for Gushue, he was facing two Jacobs counters that would not have been easy to eliminate.
“In an event of this magnitude you never want to see something like that,” Jacobs said of the pick. “It was really unfortunate for those guys, but they handled it as well as they could. They continued to battle and made sure we earned the win from that point on.
“You know they’re a seasoned team; they’re not going to give up. They bounced back with a deuce and it’s still game on. Maybe they get a steal and it’s 4-3 and its almost like the pick never happened. That could have been the scenario.”
Gushue got two back in the fourth, jumping on a couple of near-misses by Jacobs, but the veterans from Northern Ontario settled themselves by blanking the fifth end and regrouping at the break.
They took one in the sixth, gave up a single in seventh and regained total control with two in the eighth. The win came about 30 hours after Jacobs had missed a last-rock draw that cost him a possible win over Koe and his bounce-back performance came as no surprise.
“Exactly what I expected,” said his third Ryan Fry. “Brad is playing so good right now, probably as good as I’ve seem him. So a little hiccup on one shot, it happens to every skip out there. We went out had a couple of beers and shook it off. After about six we were feeling OK about it.”
Bottcher jumped into an early 4-1 lead by scoring deuces in the first and third ends. But two costly misses by the young skip let Two-time world champion Koe third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing, lead Ben Hebert, alternate Scott Pfeifer and coach John Dunn score three in the fourth to get the game back to even.
They traded singles in the seventh and eighth before Bottcher stole one in ninth setting the stage for Koe’s last-rock heroics in ten.
In the other evening games, defending champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg scored four in the fourth and three in the sixth to remain unbeaten at 4-0, beating Julie Tippin (1-2) of Woodstock, Ont., 12-6, while Rachel Homan of Ottawa (3-1) scored four in the second end and two more in the fourth and went on to beat Michelle Englot (0-3) of Winnipeg 11-7 in a rematch of the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts final.
The 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings continues with draws Tuesday at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times EST).
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings are available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/
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