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Canada remains perfect through five at men's curling worlds

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The Canadian Press
4/1/2013 11:53:58 PM
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VICTORIA -- Brad Jacobs missed his game-day nap Monday afternoon due to back-to-back games -- but he still found plenty of time to rest.

The Canadian skip did not have to play a full game against either Brady Clark of the United States or Sven Michel of Switzerland. Jacobs posted a pair of identical 7-2 victories as both opponents conceded early.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., enters Tuesday's games against the Czech Republic and Norway on an 11-game win streak dating to the Canadian men's curling championship in Edmonton, where he finished with a six consecutive victories.

The nightcap against the Americans lasted only six ends as Clark missed a takeout and the Canadians counted four. After consulting with his rinkmates, Clark shook hands and called it a night.

"I was really surprised actually," said Jacobs. "I thought you had to play eight ends.

"But, apparently, they asked the officials and it was OK to shake. They approved it. ... But, hey, we'll take it, because we are on (Tuesday) morning (against the Czechs.) This is nice. We'll go back to the hotel and, maybe, get a little more sleep than (in) the past week."

The quick end came even though the Americans trailed only 3-2 after five ends. In the sixth, Clark's takeout attempt went cleanly between a port and through the house. The U.S. skip said the Canadians played a perfect end, and he felt it would be better for his rink to get some early rest given the "marathon" schedule.

"Whether they got three there in the sixth end or whether they got four, to me, you're not going to really likely come back against the Jacobs rink," said Clark.

The story was similar in the afternoon as Jacobs downed Michel in just eight ends.

Canada led 6-1 after five ends and 6-2 after six. When Jacobs made a runback for one more in the eighth, Michel shook hands.

"We had some really difficult shots, but they played really well, and we had no chance at the end," said Michel.

Jacobs said lessons learned at the Brier are continuing to pay off at the worlds.

"We have been able to keep rolling along, even after the two-or-three-week break," said Jacobs. "I just think that what we had, what we found, in ourselves at the Brier, those last six games, really helped us get to this point and know how we have to be from now on -- not just here but (for) every event."

The 27-year-old is trying to become the youngest Canadian to win a world title since Edmonton's Kevin Martin prevailed at the age of 24 in 1991. Canada has won the past three world crowns.

"I'm happy that we're performing pretty much each and every game," said Jacobs. "We had that little slip-up against Finland (when the Finns scored four in one end.)

"That's fine. We came back, but we're still going out with the same intensity, the same focus and putting on great performances like we did at the Brier."

Jacobs said his Canadian title, the first for Northern Ontario since Al Hackner triumphed in 1985 en route to a world title, has given his rink the confidence to take several high-risk shots that it continued to make with the Swiss.

"If you're not playing with confidence, you're not trying the shots that we're trying," said Jacobs.

The quick win enabled Jacobs and his crew to head to dinner early in advance of the non-contest against the Americans.

But Canadian third Ryan Fry was not in the mood to celebrate the rink's unbeaten record. He needed only one word to summarize what it means -- nothing.

"We're here to make the playoffs," said Fry. "So until we achieve that goal, it means very little."

The two Canadian wins could prove critical because Scotland's David Murdoch, China's Rui Liu and Sweden's Niklas Edin also posted two wins apiece Monday to retain a share of second place with 4-1 marks.

Murdoch capped his strong rebound from a loss to Canada on Sunday by downing Switzerland 8-6.

In other evening play, Finland Aku Kauste (1-4) earned his first win with a 6-5 decision over Japan (1-4), and Denmark's Rasmus Stjerne (3-2) upset Vancouver 2010 Olympic silver medallist Thomas Ulsrud of Norway (3-2) by a 7-5 count in an extra end.

The top four teams qualify for the playoff round, which begins Friday.

Brad Jacobs (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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