Friday, February 8, 2013

Cliche alert: Brad Jacobs leads in Northern Ontario and other playdown news

Brad Jacobs is the clear favourite in the Northern Ontario playdowns and he heads into Friday's play at 4-0. He has three games, including a 7 p.m. match-up with veteran Al Hackner. He told the Sault Star that wasn't looking ahead to that game yet, preferring to . . . well . . . you know. 

“We'd love to clinch (today), that'd be great,” Jacobs said. “But our goal is still to take one game at a time. We know we're going into our longest day. We have to stay patient and stay in the moment.”


To the south, and Glenn Howard's team lost another match, this time to the unheralded Darryl Prebble. that dropped Howard to 7-2 and into a tie with Joe Frans, who, let's not forget defeated Howard earlier, meaning first place isn't a lock for the reigning world champs. 

Meanwhile John Epping is hanging around, a game back. His rink, which brought in spare Greg Balsdon to fill in for the ailing Scott Howard yesterday, has been dubbed the heir apparent to Howard in a nice piece in the Barrie Examiner. 

Epping, who is one of those guys sports writers love because he doesn't offer up cliches, had a good observation of his team at this point: 

“Yeah, and I think that’s the thing,” said skip John Epping. “The only thing we lack is the consistency, where we can lose to anybody, but still be able to beat anybody.”


In N+L, Brad Gushue is on top -- surprise, surprise -- after a win over Colin Thomas. The youthful Thomas admitted to the Telegram that playing against the gold medal winner was a wee bit nerve-wracking. 

“You don’t get to play Brad Gushue every day, but I tried to keep my cool… at least on the outside,” said Thomas who added his entire rink responded well to the pressure.


In Alberta, the battle of the balding skips Kevins was won by the elder statesman, Martin, who defeated Koe and earned a spot -- and last rock -- in the 1-2 Page game, with an A-final victory. Koe wasn't ready to throw in the towel just yet, but told the Edmonton Journal that it is significant.

“For sure, it’s not life or death, but since they’ve gone to this format, whoever has come out of A has always won,” defending champion Koe said before playing Martin in the provincial A Event final for the third straight year.“That just shows it’s a pretty significant advantage to get your choice of rocks and start with hammer in that 1-2 game,” Koe continued. “It’s a big game, for sure.”

Martin, by the way, barely escaped his A-semi game over Jamie King, who Koe will face in his next game.

“The big thing is getting the hammer in the 1-2 game, and they have to get past Jamie King somehow,” said Martin, who was badly outplayed by King and fortunate to beat the Saville Centre team with former world champions Blake MacDonald and Scott Pfeifer 7-6 in an extra end in the A semifinals.

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