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Jacobs, Gushue among early winners at Brier; Stoughton plays Martin tonight

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EDMONTON -- Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs, Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue, Quebec’s Jean-Michel Menard and Saskatchewan’s Brock Virtue were all winners here Saturday afternoon on the opening draw of the 2013 Canadian men’s curling championship.

Jacobs -- with Winnipeg’s Ryan Fry at third -- broke open a 4-4 tie with NWT’s Jamie Koe with a three-ender in the seventh end. Jacobs sealed the deal with four more in the ninth end en route to an 11-6 win.

Fry wrote himself into the Brier record books with Saturday’s appearance against NWT, joining Earle Morris as the only two men to ever represent three different provinces at the Brier. Fry previously represented Manitoba and Newfoundland.

Gushue broke open a 2-2 tie with Nova Scotia’s Paul Flemming with a five-ender in the sixth end. Already staring at three Newfoundland counters when he went to throw his last, Nova Scotia vice-skip Ian Fitzner-LeBlanc accidentally spilled a fourth Newfoundland counter into the rings, leaving Gushue a simple draw for his five-ender.

In other games on the opening draw, Menard defeated New Brunswick’s James Grattan 5-4, while Virtue showed some cool in his Brier debut, drawing the four-foot with the last rock of an extra end to win 4-3 over a surprisingly plucky PEI team skipped by Eddie MacKenzie.

Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton gets his first action here this evening when he takes on hometown favourite Kevin Martin (7:30 p.m. CT, TSN).

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

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