With four round-robin games remaining, Team B.C. can’t afford another loss and will likely need help to make the playoff round at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men’s curling championship in Calgary.
Team Laycock, skipped by Saskatoon import Steve Laycock, fell to 1-3 Tuesday morning, March 9, with a tough 8-7 loss to 2013 champion and 2014 Olympic gold medalist Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario.
The defeat drops B.C. to 1-3 in the nine-team Pool A with six rinks ahead of them in the standings. The top four teams from Pool A and B advance to the playoff round Friday, carrying their round-robin records with them.
Points were scored in every end between Northern Ontario and B.C., whose rink includes the Kelowna front-end tandem of lead Rick Sawatsky and second Andrew Nerpin, and fourth Jim Cotter of Vernon, who throws final stones.
Laycock was leading 4-3 at the fifth-end break, but Jacobs tied the contest with a single in the sixth. Then came the key seventh end, when the Northern Ontario quartet stole a deuce for a 6-4 lead. B.C. tied the game with hammer in the eighth and stole one in nine for a 7-6 lead coming home. But Jacobs would score two with the final rock for the victory.
The win improved Jacobs’ record to 3-2. Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson is the only unbeaten team in the pool, climbing to 4-0 with a 7-4 victory over winless Gregory Skauge of the Northwest Territories (0-4).
New Brunswick’s Jamie Grattan is at 4-1 after an 8-3 win over Dustin Mikkelson of the Yukon, who fell to 0-5. Former Brier champ Glenn Howard’s rink scored two in the 10th with the hammer to beat Mike McEwen 6-5 in a battle of Wild Card entries. Howard is 3-1 while McEwen drops to 2-3.
Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher, who has reached the Brier final the last three years but has failed to hoist the Tankard trophy, is 3-1. His rink had the bye Tuesday morning.
Four-time Brier champ Kevin Koe of Calgary sits atop Pool B at 5-0. John Epping of Ontario and Matt Dunstone of Saskatchewan are 3-1. Team Murphy of Nova Scotia and Michael Fournier of Quebec are at 3-2. Defending Canadian champ Brad Gushue’s Team Canada rink is 2-2.
Team B.C. returns to action Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Pacific against Howard. Laycock’s rink will face the Northwest Territories Wednesday, and complete round-robin play Thursday against Gunnlaugson and Bottcher.
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