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Jacobs tops Martin to reach final at Canadian Curling Trials

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The Canadian Press
12/6/2013 9:07:25 AM
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WINNIPEG -- Brad Jacobs was the first to admit how poorly his team played. He's also one win away from a trip to the Winter Games.

The reigning Canadian champion remained undefeated at 6-0 with a 5-4 victory Thursday night over veteran Kevin Martin, clinching a spot in Sunday's final of the Canadian Olympic curling trials.

"Even though we were, in all honesty, pretty bad that game, we were able to pull it out and I think that's huge," Jacobs said.

"And I think even though we were sloppy, we were still confident. But it was really nice to be in a game like that where we had to grind and score two to win."

Martin came out of the battle of the best with a 5-1 record that earned the veteran from Edmonton a berth into Saturday afternoon's semifinal.

The other semifinalist won't be determined until the men finish their seven-game Roar of the Rings round robin with a morning draw Friday at the MTS Centre.

With Martin leading 4-3, Jacobs blanked the eighth and ninth ends to keep the hammer in the 10th.

Both rinks had a pair of rocks inside the four-foot, with a Jacobs' stone almost dead centre in the button.

Martin then put up a guard, forcing the 28-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., to do a run-back takeout and score two points.

Martin, who won gold at the 2010 Olympics and silver in 2002, is looking for a fourth trip to the Games.

The 47-year-old was leading Jacobs 3-1 after four ends, but Jacobs scored two in the sixth to tie it up.

Martin looked like he was going to taken advantage of Jacobs' misses in the seventh end and score two, but after he took out a Jacobs' stone his own rock was just barely swept out of the rings for the 4-3 lead.

Martin agreed it was a sloppy game by both sides.

"But Brad made a good one in his last one," he said.

A duel between the Winnipeg rinks skipped by Jeff Stoughton and Mike McEwen ended with McEwen defeating the veteran 9-6.

Stoughton, who dropped to 2-4, was given a standing ovation. McEwen sits at 3-3.

Before competing in his fifth trials, Stoughton said it'll be his last attempt to go to the Olympics.

McEwen jumped to a 5-1 lead after the third end when he scored four against the two-time world champion, but Stoughton stole two in the fifth to close the gap 5-4.

McEwen stretched the lead to 9-5 after a draw for three in the eighth end.

"It's whoever played their best this week," Stoughton said.

"We didn't play our best and we got what we got, which is not enough wins to get in the playoffs."

Winless Kevin Koe of Calgary drew to the button to claim his first victory of the competition with a 7-6 decision over veteran Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont. (2-4).

John Morris, who curls out of Kelowna, B.C., improved to 4-2 with a 7-6 win over John Epping of Toronto (1-5).

"Not the textbook when you're up 5-2 that you'd want to play it, but that's how we roll," Morris said.

"Sometimes it's not pretty, but we get the job done and we're excited to live on till tomorrow."

Morris plays Martin on Friday, with the other matchups between Stoughton and Howard, McEwen and Koe and Epping against Jacobs.

On the women's side, Rachel Homan avoided playing a tiebreaker and grabbed a spot in the semifinals.

The reigning Canadian champion defeated Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon 6-5 in the final game of their seven-game round robin to finish 4-3, but Winnipeg's Chelsea Carey and Ontario's Sherry Middaugh also sported the same mark.

Homan got bumped to the semi, though, because her Ottawa rink fared better than Carey and Middaugh's teams on rankings based on draws to the button before games throughout the week.

"It wasn't important," Homan said of avoiding a tiebreaker.

"It's nice to be able to get second place and go into the semi. Either way we had a chance and that's all we needed."

Carey and Middaugh will play their tiebreaker Friday afternoon, with the winner taking on Homan later that night.

Homan, 24, had no preference on which team they'd prefer taking on.

"We've played them both a million times and it's going to be a good game either way and hopefully we can win it in 10 (ends)," Homan said.

Winnipeg veteran skip Jennifer Jones already earned a bye into Saturday night's final and will watch her competitors battle it out.

Jones, 39, defeated Edmonton's Heather Nedohin 6-5 to finish her round robin at 6-1, while Nedohin ended with a 3-4 mark.

Homan almost had to play in a tiebreaker, but Edmonton's Val Sweeting lost 9-8 in an extra end to Renee Sonnenberg of Grande Prairie, Alta., and fell to 3-4. Sonnenberg finished 1-6.

Carey had a chance to grab second place outright, but she lost 7-6 to Middaugh.

"If they'd told us at the start of the week we'd have a tiebreaker, we'd take it," Carey, 29, said.

Middaugh, 47, who's competing in her fourth trials, was leading 5-3 after six ends and stole another point in the seventh.

She also saw room for improvement after the win.

"The first seven ends were fun and then I turned off my brain in my last shot in eight and then the collar got a little tight after that so I can't lie," Middaugh said.

Brad Jacobs (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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