Brad Jacobs back to winning ways at Olympics

Canada's Brad Jacobs delivers a stone during the men's curling round robin game against Russia at...

Canada's Brad Jacobs delivers a stone during the men's curling round robin game against Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 12, 2014. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

TED WYMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:33 PM ET

SOCHI, RUSSIA - A little bit of adversity may have been just what the Canadian men’s curling team needed at these Winter Olympic Games.

The Brad Jacobs foursome from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., got off to a rough start in the Olympic tournament, losing two of its first three games after going undefeated against a stacked field at the Canadian curling trials in Winnipeg.

But back-to-back wins, including a 7-6 victory over Denmark Thursday, have Canada back in a decent playoff position at 3-2, sitting in fifth place behind China, Great Britain, Sweden and Norway.

“I think we’re back on track,” lead Ryan Harnden said. “We’re still not playing to the best of our abilities, but we’re getting there.”

While the Canadian women’s team, skipped by Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones, has sailed along at the Olympics and is now 5-0 after beating Denmark and Switzerland by 8-5 scores Thursday, the men are still trying to find their way.

Harnden’s brother E.J., the second on Team Canada, said the adversity of being 1-2 will probably help in the long run.

“We’re known for that,” he said. “Besides the trials, that’s the only time we’ve come through the easy way. So, for us, we just sort of laughed off (losing a couple of games) and said it’s par for the course — now let’s go out there and get a win.”

With four days left of round-robin play, the Canadians have plenty of time to work out the kinks. They had some trouble with the Danes Thursday, as Ryan Harnden (71%) struggled with the rocks and put some added pressure on third Ryan Fry and the skipper.

Fry said the Canadians are all throwing the rock well, but with the odd hiccup, which he attributed to finding their way as Olympians.

“As much as you train and as much as people have talked to you about what the Olympics have in store for you, it’s a different tournament altogether,” Fry said. “There are nerves and there’s anxiety and doubt and you’ve got to wash all of those things out of your head to be able to perform at your best.”

Canada plays Norway Friday, a game against a contender that will be crucial for playoff positioning.

Jacobs likes his team’s chances now that they have started playing with fewer nerves and a bit more energy.

“When we lost those two games, we regrouped,” Jacobs said. “We talked a lot. We talked with our coaches and we discovered what we needed to do in order to be better at this event. And that was really to bring a lot more energy to each and every shot each and every game. Kind of the same energy and intensity we had at the Olympic trials, throughout the Brier playoffs.”

At those Olympic trials, members of the Jacobs team turned heads with their enthusiastic celebrations and tremendous shot-making. It’s when they are playing with that kind of fire that these curlers are at their best.

“I think we’re right on the cusp of bringing that trials game back,” E.J. Harnden said.

“That’s two in a row and has us back on the winning side of things (and that gets) some confidence going.”

Perhaps this Jacobs team is a bit like the hockey left-winger who gets down and dirty and has to scrap for every iota of success.

“There’s nothing wrong with a good grind in a week of curling. We like it.”

ted.wyman@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/@ted_wyman

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