Brad Jacobs and his Canadian rink got points for messy housekeeping Sunday at the world men’s curling championships.
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., skip remained unbeaten after three draws as he posted a pair of victories — first an 8-6 decision over Finland’s Aku Kauste and then thumped Scotland 9-4.
Canada, whose players are competing in his first-ever worlds, remained the only undefeated team after handing Scotland (2-1) its first loss.
In both cases, Jacobs prevailed after mastering a house cluttered with junk. In the morning draw, the messiness was more of his own doing as he overcame an early 4-1 deficit by putting up plenty of junk instead of deploying his usual clean, takeout-based game.
“It wasn’t a typical game for us,” said Jacobs. “We like to try to build a lead and peel, as everyone knows.
“We did that in the first game (a win over China), but this game was totally the opposite. But it’s nice to have a game like that, too, where you have to come back to win.”
He and his rink of third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden forced Kauste to make several misses. Things got messy for the Finns again in the evening Sunday as they were hammered 9-2 by Denmark, who stole the last five points.
In other evening draw action, Switzerland doubled the U.S. 8-4, while Norway played Japan in a game that had yet to be completed before Canada’s win.
The Finns seemed rattled in their nightcap after Jacobs was able to overcome his deficit.
“There was a lot of rocks in play because we had to come back,” said Jacobs. “We were trying to get rocks in play, and then it was a close game, so we were trying to steal or whatever.”
“We knew that we had to grind that (game) out,” added Fry. “We made a large amount of shots the last half of the game. Usually, if you outplay the other team in the last half, you’ll be somewhere close to a win.”
In afternoon action, Scotland edged Denmark 5-4, while Sweden suffered its first loss with a 5-4 defeat against China. Japan, meanwhile, beat the United States 7-6 and the Czech Republic beat Russia by the same score.
Jacobs posted his eighth-straight victory dating to the Brier that he captured in Edmonton in early March. The streak includes three Brier playoff games and three round-robin contests.
While thrilled to remain undefeated on the world stage, he was looking for a better effort from himself and his rink heading into an evening game.
“It’s really not a performance that we’re proud of,” said Jacobs. “You never like to struggle like that. But, still, we came back, we fought hard, and we got the win.”
The Finns were looking for a strong effort after squandering a 4-0 lead against Sweden in the opening draw. But they were disappointed again as Kauste struggled with his turns and draw weight.
“We had some really good ends at the beginning, taking the big four where we had control,” he said. “Then we just let it go — a couple of big misses, some ends where we really didn’t put our rocks in the right places.”
With Finland lying three in the third end, Jacobs wrecked on a guard with his first attempt. He tried to offset the damage by getting his second shot closer to the button than one Finnish rock, but Kauste made a short angle-raise takeout to go up 4-1.
“The (four-ender) was just a horrible end, right from lead to skip, and we knew, no matter who you’re playing, you’re going to give up a big end when that happens,” said Fry.
Jacobs said his rink struggled to get used to the ice on sheet C after playing its first game on sheet A.
“It was a little frustrating at the beginning of the game — very frustrating — because we weren’t playing well,” said Jacobs. “We were throwing the rock and getting no results, and that’s the worst.”
Canada started chipping its way back in the fourth end as Jacobs drew to the button for one. In the fifth, the Canadians completely blocked both sides of the T-line.
Kauste opted to try and come around on the left, but his rock stayed wide and went long to give Canada a steal of three and a 5-4 lead.
“Once that happened, I think we all just went from being frustrated to back to normal,” said Jacobs. “We played a really good end that end. We forced him into a tough shot. But he played the out-turn, and I really don’t know why he didn’t stay with the in-turn when he saw a bunch of rocks come down there.”
But Jacobs was not complaining about Kauste’s decision.
“We got a break with him being heavy. It looked like he got a ton of weight on that, and it was a little heavy. But it came down a lot. There hadn’t been a rock out there. So, in my opinion, it was a pretty goofy call to go way out that wide.”
The Finnish skip got one back in the sixth end, after calling a timeout, as he drew to the four-foot to create a 5-5 tie. Then Jacobs had to settle for one in the seventh after he was heavy with a draw and lost a measurement — taken twice — by a fraction.
But two mistakes by Kauste enabled the Canadians to increase their lead to 8-5 in the eighth end. First, Kauste wicked off a guard on his initial throw, and then he watched in dismay as his second attempt went straight and long.
He finally got his rock to curl in the ninth end, drawing around two Canadian stones to score one. But Jacobs ran the Finns out of rocks in the 10th.
It one of the few times that Jacobs and company had no trouble cleaning the house.