Brad Jacobs secures spot at Roar of the Rings
Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., skip edges Brad Gushue at pre-trials
Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie used a three-point fifth end to propel himself out of 3-2 hole against 2006 Olympic champion Brad Gushue in Kitchener, Ont., to claim the final men's spot at the Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials next month.
Jacobs and his squad of Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden, who earned a 7-5 win at the Road to the Roar pre-trial on Sunday, will be making the trip to Winnipeg.
On the women's side, Edmonton's Val Sweeting booked the final spot with a 6-4 victory over Kelowna's Kelly Scott Sunday.
Through an oft-questioned point system, Jacobs had to go to the pre-trials instead of getting a bye to trials.
"We didn't make it directly in and we had to do this the hard way, and I think being defending Brier champions it wouldn't be right if we weren't there, if you think about it," Jacobs said.
His opponent agreed.
"Looking back on it, Brad Jacobs deserves to be in the Olympic trials," said Gushue. "You know, if anybody was going to beat us and go there, it's good that they did. As Canadian champions, they should be in the trials in my opinion. They shouldn't have had to play this game."
'Just the luck of it'
Despite losing his 3-2 lead in the fifth end, Gushue and his crew of Brett Gallant, Adam Casey and Geoff Walker kept plugging away and kept the score close, including a steal of a point in the ninth end to make it 5-4. Thoughts of tying the game seemed to get dashed though when Casey's stone caught some debris on the ice just as he let go of it and kicked away.
"It's just the luck of it," Gushue said.
"He made an absolute honey of a shot on his first and if we get that second guard up and played something with their top reds earlier, we had a chance to steal two. It just sucks. In the last end to see something like that, it was unfortunate."
Jacobs, though, put himself in a good position to win by playing more aggressive than he did in the A-final against John Morris.
"We played a lot better today," Jacobs said.
"The end that we got three, the fifth end, when E.J. made the run back and the perfect hit and roll, I thought to myself, 'OK, that's what we needed to get back to who we are on the ice.' So we really credit E.J. for making those two shots and getting us back on track."
So now Jacobs will have to take that aggression out west when he faces Jeff Stoughton in his first match at the trials in Stoughton's hometown.
"Ya, I guess he's going to be pretty nervous," Jacobs joked.