Song remains the same for N. Ontario

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:19 PM ET

LONDON - Northern Ontario skip Brad Jacobs is 1-2 after his first three games at the Tim Hortons Brier.

No surprise there — it’s been the same song at his three previous national men’s curling championship appearances.

But this one was his biggest head-scratcher after falling 7-5 to Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue in 11 ends Sunday afternoon at the John Labatt Centre.

Jacobs rubbed a guard on his last rock in the 10th end to settle for one and hand over the hammer to the 2006 Olympic champ, who won it in sudden death.

“I’m still baffled by it,” the 25-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie said. “I thought I threw two perfect rocks there (in the 10th) exactly the same and they did two totally different things.

“E.J. (third E.J. Harnden) set us up to win it in the 10th. I just don’t know what happened there. The ice is excellent. I have no issues with the ice.

“It was the same shot and they did two different things.”

He’ll have plenty of time to think about it. Northern Ontario doesn’t play against until Monday afternoon.

But that’s a blessing, said Jacobs.

He followed an 11-8 shootout win over the Northwest Territories/Yukon Saturday morning with a grinder against Gushue.

“I’m gassed right now,” he said. “For me, it’s mentally and the rest of the guys, it’ll be physically. I’m really glad we’re off (Sunday night and Monday morning). It’ll give us a chance to recharge. Right now, we need it because when we get back out there, we play four in a row.

“We don’t necessarily have to curl better. All four of us are throwing the rock well right now. It’s more about ice reading. That has to be better.”

This group knows it has the stuff to roar back into playoff contention.

Last year in Halifax, Jacobs’ 1-2 start featured losses to Alberta’s Kevin Koe (the eventual 2010 champ) and Ontario’s Glenn Howard, the runner-up. He beat Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton, who he’ll face again Monday afternoon.

Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario — it doesn’t get much more difficult a start than that.

“And then we ran the table (eight straight victories to bag Northern Ontario’s first playoff berth since 1993) after 1-2,” Jacobs said, “but we’ll see what happens. This is a better field this year. Every big name is here and every game here is going to be tough.”

The hill is steep. But at 1-2 again, Jacobs knows the road is at least well-travelled.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ryanpyette


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