Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jacobs rink used to battling its way to top

Canadians rebound from rough start

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SOCHI, Russia -- Brad Jacobs has had some pretty big days in curling, but none as large as today. If things go his way today, they'll just keep increasing in magnitude for the skip of Team Canada.

Jacobs had a 7-5 win over Great Britain fall in his lap on Saturday afternoon to move his record to 5-2 and a share of third place in the standings.

The top four teams in the standings advance to the semifinals and Jacobs could clinch a spot as early as ths morning with a win over the U.S.A. in the early draw. A Canadian win against the U.S. combined with a Norwegian loss to Great Britain would give Jacobs a berth in the semifinals putting him just one more win away from a medal at that point.

Jacobs admitted his team was a little sloppy on Saturday.

"We just weren't very good and we can be a lot better. We had opportunities to make things happen and we didn't," said Jacobs. "A lot of that rests with me. I have to be better."

Jacobs curled 85 per cent and his team had an overall average of 84 per cent.

"We've been getting better all week and this was a step back. But we're used to this. We're not a perfect team. At the Olympic Trials, everything went perfect, but that's not us," said Jacobs. "We're used to being scrappy and grinding it out over a week."

Jacobs said his team was flat to open the Olympic Games.

"This is bigger than anything we've ever done. And different. Nothing we've ever done had prepared us for this," said Jacobs.

"People at home could notice it even on TV, we just weren't ourselves. We need to curl with emotion and we've found it. We've found our intensity and we need to keep it up."

When Jacobs was asked about getting to the playoff, he flashed a little bit of that intensity in his answer.

"I'm just focused on having the best possible game I can have against the U.S. (today)," he growled to a handful of international curling media. "That's what is next for us. Everything else will take care of itself."

The temperature in Sochi, it reached a high of 20 C on Saturday, has made ice conditions at the Ice Cube venue difficult at times. Both Jacobs and Ryan Fry commended ice maker Hans Wuthrich of Gimli for his work but said there were flat spots on the ice Saturday as a result of the heat outside.

"We played both decent and a little sloppy, but we got a lot of bad breaks that game and the positive thing is that we stuck with it and made the ones that we had to make," said Fry. "The ice, when it gets this warm, stuff sticks to it much easier. There were a lot of picks in that game. We were under some huge pressure there and I'm proud of the guys for sticking with the game, because it was a tough one. When you get bad breaks and a lot of picks you need to keep your focus, and we were able to do that."

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 16, 2014 B3

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