Northern Ontario beats Ontario to advance to Brier final

The Canadian Press
3/10/2013 3:29:35 PM
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EDMONTON -- Northern Ontario last won a Canadian men's curling championship the year Brad Jacobs was born.

Now the 27-year-old skip has the chance to win a Brier for Ontario's north for the first time since Al Hackner in 1985.

"I think it's time," Jacobs said. "I think it's time."

Northern Ontario defeated defending champion Glen Howard 9-7 in an all-Ontario semifinal Sunday morning.

Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harden and lead Ryan Harden were to meet Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton for the championship Sunday evening.

It will be the first Brier final for Jacobs and his Sault Ste. Marie team.

"If you're not nervous then you don't want it bad enough and we want it pretty bad," Jacobs said.

The winner represents Canada at the world curling championship next month in Victoria.

Howard had skipped Ontario to the Brier final six of the seven previous years and won twice.

Howard, third Wayne Middaugh, second Brent Laing and lead Craig Savill dominated the round robin with 10 wins to start the tournament, but ended 0-3 including a pair of playoff losses.

It was a disappointing finish for the 2012 world champions, who were to face Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador for bronze. (streamed live on at 3:30pm et/12:30pm pt)

"I felt we were the best team all week and now we're done," Howard said. "I feel like our team deserves more than where we're going to end up. I don't think we deserve to be playing another game for third.

Howard looked well on his way to another championship game in Saturday's playoff match against Stoughton, but he missed his last shot of the game. Stoughton scored three points in the 10th for a 7-6 win.

"I missed a bad one last night against Jeff and a couple today," Howard said. "I feel like I let the guys down."

Jacobs and his front end finished third in 2010 and out of the playoffs last year. Fry joined the team prior to this season.

Northern Ontario finished fourth in the round robin at 8-3 and beat Newfoundland in an extra end in a playoff game to advance to the semifinal.

"We've proven ourselves up until now this week," Jacobs said. "This is one of the best Brier fields ever assembled. We're playing with them all. Just one more game."

Northern Ontario stole two in the fifth and a single in the eighth to lead 9-5.

The two teams traded deuces until the fifth when Northern Ontario stole the pivotal two points.

Howard attempted a hit and roll against three opposition stones for a point, but rolled the wrong way to give up two.

"We had control and I personally gave it away in the fifth end," Howard said. "I missed my two shots. I just overthought them a little bit, thought they were going to curl, pumped them up and threw them a little heavy. Next thing you know, he steals two."

Brad Jacobs (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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