Lessons for life on the hockey rink

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - GREGORY STRONG

Ted Nolan’s jour­ney to head coach of Pol­ish na­tional team

OT­TAWA — The reign­ing Olympic men’s curl­ing cham­pi­ons were perfect at the Tim Hor­tons Roar of the Rings the last time around.

The 2017 Tri­als were far less kind to Brad Ja­cobs and his team from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Chances of a re­peat ap­pear­ance at the Win­ter Games were dashed Thurs­day at Cana­dian Tire Cen­tre. Ja­cobs es­sen­tially sealed his fate when he dropped a 9-5 de­ci­sion to Reid Car­ruthers in the morn­ing. For­mal elim­i­na­tion from play­off con­tention came in the evening when Brad Gushue beat Steve Lay­cock, 8-5.

“It’s a big sur­prise, it’s an in­cred­i­ble sur­prise,” said Team Ja­cobs coach Caleb Flaxey.

Cal­gary’s Kevin Koe (7-0) booked a spot in the men’s fi­nal with a 7-4 win over John Mor­ris in the af­ter­noon. Cal­gary’s Chelsea Carey (6-0) is guar­an­teed no worse than a tiebreaker ap­pear­ance af­ter a 9-8 win over Julie Tip­pin.

The top three rinks in the nineteam fields make the play­offs.

Gushue, from St. John’s, N.L., moved into sec­ond place at 5-2. Ja­cobs (3-4) beat Mike McEwen, 6-3, in the night­cap to send the Win­nipeg skip into a third-place tie with Car­ruthers at 4-3.

Edmonton’s Bren­dan Bottcher (3-3) was also in the mix af­ter edg­ing Toronto’s John Ep­ping, 7-6 in an ex­tra end. Lay­cock, from Saska­toon, fell to 2-5 and is out along with Mor­ris (1-5), from Ver­non, B.C., and Ep­ping (1-6).

Ot­tawa’s Rachel Ho­man beat Edmonton’s Val Sweet­ing 7-5 in the evening. Ho­man was alone in sec­ond place at 6-1 and Sweet­ing was knocked out of the play­off mix at 3-4. Krista McCarville of Thun­der Bay, Ont., im­proved her play­off chances with a 5-3 win over Jen­nifer Jones of Win­nipeg. Jones was in third place at 5-2 and McCarville was fourth at 4-2.

ADRIAN WYLD, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Skip Brad Ja­cobs of Sault Ste. Marie, left, dis­cusses a shot with Ryan Fry at curl­ing’s Olympic Tri­als on Thurs­day.

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