When Brad Jacobs begins playoff action at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Victoria, BC with his rink on Saturday he will be looking to enter elite company. The skip from Sault Ste. Marie, ON is hoping to join a group of only 15 other Canadian men who have won gold in their World Championship debut dating back to 1950.
Jacobs’ team, consisting of third Ryan Fry (Sault Ste. Marie, ON), second E.J. Harnden (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) and lead Ryan Harnden (Sault Ste. Marie, ON), had one of the hottest starts in the tournament going 5-0 on the way to defeating highly ranked teams like Scotland (2) and Norway (3) by respective scores of 9-4 and 10-7.
Despite making it look easy early, the team finished round robin play with a record of 7-4 putting them in fourth place and will play third place Denmark (8-3) in the Page playoff 3-4 game on Saturday for an opportunity to reach the semifinals.
“It’s just a real frustrating way to end the week,” said Jacobs, who won the Tim Hortons Brier last month after finishing round robin play in the same fourth place position. “We’re throwing the rock well and getting very little results. We’re playing our hearts out and it hasn’t been working the last little while. We’ll play as hard as we can until the end.”
With a minimum fourth place finish at the World Championship, Canada’s quota spot in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games has been secured. Last year, Glenn Howard’s Ontario rink won the maximum 14 qualification points by capturing the 2012 title in Basel, Switzerland.
The Midland, ON native put Canada in a cozy position to head to Sochi and defend the 2010 gold medal won by Kevin Martin (Killiam, AB) and now Jacobs has an opportunity to earn the top seed for the country heading into Sochi with a deep run in these playoffs.
Jacobs has had a few hiccups along the way to the playoffs including a couple unexpected losses to the Czech Republic and Japan.
“I personally curled terrible, horrible,” said a disappointed Jacobs after the Japan loss. “When your skip’s curling like that, you’re not going to win many games.”
Canada bounced back from that loss with an 8-5 win over 2014 host country Russia before losing two straight to Sweden and Denmark to close the tournament.
Canada gets its shot at redemption against the Danes on Saturday at 2 p.m. EST and it can be seen on TSN.