December 12, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
VICTORIA -- Canada will play Sweden for the world men's curling title today.
Brad Jacobs's Northern Ontario rink advanced to the gold-medal game by downing David Murdoch of Scotland 6-3 in the semifinal.
The win gave Canada a chance at a fourth consecutive world title.
Denmark will play Scotland for the bronze medal, also on Sunday. The Danes missed their chance at gold after losing 8-6 to Canada in the 3-4 playoff game earlier Saturday.
Canada rebounded after entering the playoff round with two straight losses.
Jacobs's Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., squad is attempting to become the first Northern Ontario team to claim a world title since Al Hackner guided his Thunder Bay rink to gold in 1985.
Sweden was also the other finalist that year.
Earlier Saturday, the Canadians triumphed over the Danes despite entering the playoffs in a slump. Jacobs's squad had lost two straight games and four of its past six.
The Soo crew felt reinvigorated after getting a day off from games Friday, when it only took part in a short practice and went to a spa at the team's hotel.
"The full day off (from games Friday) really helped us out," said Jacobs. "That was the biggest reason why we were able to come out so refreshed and so hungry today. We played awesome."
Denmark was relegated to the bronze-medal game, which will also be played Sunday. The Danes will face the team that loses the semifinal.
"We went out and we played really well -- what we needed to do," said Jacobs. "Denmark's real tough. They made a lot of shots."
Canada atoned for a loss to the Danes on the final day of the round-robin segment. It was the first of back-to-back Canadian losses on Thursday as Jacobs and company fell to fourth place and had to settle for a do-or-die re-match with Denmark instead of a spot in the Page 1 playoff game and two cracks at the final.
"They were more in it today," said Stjerne, a former world junior men's championship (2009.) "We knew that in the playoffs they always step it up. We tried to do the same (as in the round-robin win). We had some key misses."
Canada earned the win in the 10th as Jacobs drew for two points, breaking a 6-6 tie. With three Danish rocks in the house and Canada holding the hammer, Canadian third Ryan Fry made a terrific triple-takeout with his second shot.
The shot, which ignited the flag-waving crowd, ultimately prevented Stjerne from making the steal he needed for the win.
"When Fry made that shot in 10, that was the loudest cheer we've ever had," said Jacobs. "That gave us all chills. When he did that, we really wanted to close that game out for the crowd."
How did Jacobs react to Fry's shot?
"It was, like, 'thank you.' That just got us out of big trouble," said Jacobs. "I don't know if he wanted to play that shot -- but we had to play that shot, and he just threw it perfect. We called it perfect and that was the shot of the game right there."
Canada needed only five ends to secure the victory. The hosts took a decisive 5-2 lead in the fifth as Jacobs hit and stuck for three points while taking out a Scottish rock. The opportunity for the big end came after Murdoch missed a double-takeout attempt, eliminating just one Canadian rock instead of two.
The Danes lost for only the third time in their last 10 games in the competition.
Stjerne has a chance to match the bronze medal that his father Tommy skipped Denmark to in 1990. The Danes had not reached the playoff round since then.
But the chance to make his mark in family and Danish history was of little consolation to Rasmus Stjerne following the loss to Canada.
"Right now, it hurts," he said.
NOTES: Scotland curled without Tom Brewster, who earned silver as a skip at the 2011 and 2012 worlds, but has been playing third this year. Brewster was left out of the Scottish lineup after shooting only 60 per cent in Friday's loss to Sweden. Brewster was replaced by alternate Greg Drummond.
-- The Canadian Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 7, 2013 B6