J & J Punch Their Ticket To Sochi

First the Tim Hortons Brier, and now the Olympics.

Brad Jacobs and his Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., team have earned the right to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia after their 7-4 victory over John Morris at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by Monsanto, on Sunday afternoon at the MTS Centre.

“This is incredible. What a special team we have. To go and win the Brier last year and now win the Trials is unbelievable,” Jacobs said. “I never thought that this would ever happen for a second.”

Jacobs and teammates Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden, alternate Caleb Flaxey and coach Tom Coulterman, probably realized their Olympic dreams could come true after the ninth end. Jacobs led Morris of Vernon/Kelowna, B.C., 5-4 at that point and Jim Cotter (throwing fourth stones for Morris) drew to the top four, tempting Jacobs with a difficult slash double for two. The Jacobs team nailed the double to take a 7-4 lead and ran Morris out of rocks in the 10th.

Morris knew it would be pretty hard to defeat the Jacobs team, who had been so accurate with their hits all week long.

“They made everything against us in the first game with all of their hits,” Morris said. “Same thing this game and we didn’t put enough heat on them to get more points. It’s frustrating because I thought we had a better chance but we didn’t play the way we could of.

Morris and his team of Cotter, Tyrel Griffith, Rick Sawatsky, alternate Jason Gunnlaugson and coach Pat Ryan, struggled in the game that mattered most. The team shot 81 per cent compared to the Jacobs team’s 92 per cent. Morris, who was heavy on back-to-back draws in the eighth end, put together a 69 per cent game.

“I don’t know if we were out of gas or what it was, but our team seemed to play weaker against Brad,” Morris said.

Jacobs opened the game with a deuce in the first end. Griffith flashed a hit and Jacobs was able to split the house to take the 2-0 lead, which they did not relent. The closest Morris would get to coming back was in the fifth end when Cotter took advantage of a rare Jacobs miss. They set up a deuce to tie the game at 3-3 in an end that looked like Jacobs could come out with the steal.

Jacobs made his way to the final by running the table in the round robin and clinching first place. It is the first time a men’s or women’s team has went undefeated at a Canadian Curling Trials event.

The Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings will always be a memorable experience for Jacobs and his team, but he is still glad it’s over.

“It’s a relief. There was a long wait between games there and that was really hard on us. Our guts were just turning,” he said.

Now Jacobs will join Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones in Sochi, Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Jacobs is no stranger to international competition. He and his team received the silver medal at the 2013 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship and will look to take home gold at the Olympics. Jacobs has also earned the right to compete at the 2014 World Financial Group Continental Cup.

Meanwhile on Saturday;

Every athlete dreams of winning big in front of a home crowd and Jennifer Jones did just that Saturday night at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.

 

Jones defeated Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont., 8-4 in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by Monsanto, final and has earned the right to represent Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. This is the first time Jones, or any of her teammates, have represented Canada at the Olympic level. The team also has earned the right to compete at the 2014 World Financial Group Continental Cup next month in Las Vegas.

“You dream of it since you’re a little kid and we’ve had many dreams come true, but this is so rare — this opportunity. Our dreams came true today in the most amazing way. It’s unbelievable,” Jones said moments after stepping off the ice from her victory.

Two scores of three helped secure the victory for Jones and her team of Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, Dawn Askin, alternate Kirsten Wall and coach Janet Arnott.

The first score of three was in the second end. Middaugh and her Coldwater, Ont., team of Jo-Ann Rizzo, Lee Merklinger, Leigh Armstrong, alternate Lori Eddy and coach Bob Turcotte were heavy on their draw and Jones made a double to lead 3-0. The early score put Middaugh in a tight spot and was the turning point of the game.

“It was dropping that three and getting down. We needed rocks in play and they certainly weren’t going to do that,” Middaugh said. “Unfortunately that was it. Just that three points. I mean, we battled back and then we gave them that other three when we needed to force. Unfortunately when you force, sometimes you give up a big end.”

The second score of three was the one to deflate any chance of a Middaugh comeback. With her final shot, Jones crept around a guard and made a hit for two, increasing her lead from 4-3 to 7-3, heading into the eighth end.

“My team played outstanding today. Like in the biggest games of our lives they came out to play and that says a lot about how hard we worked and just how well we worked together as a team,” Jones said.

After scoring their second three-ender, the Jones team stuck to a defensive game plan. Middaugh had the opportunity to blank the eighth end, but opted to take a point. Jones took a single in the ninth and ran Middaugh out of rocks in the 10th to end the game and begin their celebration of Olympic proportions.

Only one half of Canada’s representation in curling at the Olympics has been determined. Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and John Morris of Vernon/Kelowna, B.C., will square off on Sunday at 2 p.m. (CST) in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings men’s final. The winner will join Jones on their trip to Russia as part of Team Canada and will have also earned the right to compete at the 2014 World Financial Group Continental Cup.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *