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Next stop? It's Calgary for Team Jacobs

Jacobs and his Soo Curlers Association rink, which also features Ryan Fry, EJ Harnden and Ryan Harnden, stopped Thunder Bay's Al Hackner 7-4 at the Northern Ontario Curling Association (NOCA) Men's Championships in Kenora, Ont.

Sure he was excited.

Who wouldn't be?

But Sault Ste. Marie's Brad Jacobs said he was “more relieved than anything,” after winning his fifth Northern Ontario men's curling championship as a skip Sunday.

Jacobs and his Soo Curlers Association rink, which also features Ryan Fry, EJ Harnden and Ryan Harnden, stopped Thunder Bay's Al Hackner 7-4 at the Northern Ontario Curling Association (NOCA) Men's Championships in Kenora, Ont.

That clinches a spot in the Tim Hortons Brier, slated for Feb. 28 – March 8 in Calgary.

Asked if feeling relieved was due to the fact the Jacobs rink was believed to be heavily favoured in Kenora, Jacobs said that's only part of the reason.

“But it's also never easy to win Northern Ontarios,” he added. “It's very difficult. You have to perform.”

The only time this foursome has competed at the Brier together was 2013.

And Team Jacobs emerged victorious that year in Edmonton. Jacobs finished the round-robin with an 8-3, win-loss record, before defeating Jeff Stoughton of Manitoba 11-4 in the Brier final.

“We view this as getting a chance to defend our title,” said

Fry, about to attend his second Brier as part of Team Jacobs and seventh overall.

Competing, and winning a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, precluded Team Jacobs from trying to earn a berth at last year's Brier in Kamloops, B.C.

“Playing in the Olympics, we didn't get a chance last year,” Fry continued. “And so we're really excited about getting a chance to retain our championship.”

The fourth end proved critical for the Sault rink on Sunday. Leading 2-0 through three ends, Hackner was laying four in the fourth before Jacobs made back-to-back double takeouts.

With hammer, Hackner was able to score just two, tying the match 2-2.

Asked if he felt that may have been the turning point in the game, Jacobs answered in the affirmative.

“We weren't in good shape in the fourth,” he said. “But it was my job to make it less painful for the guys. It was my job to bail us out.”

Jacobs went on to score a deuce himself in the fifth end for a 4-2 lead.

A Hackner miss allowed a steal of one in the sixth and later, leading 5-4, Jacobs made an impressive hit-and stick for two in the ninth, restoring his three-point lead.

“It wasn't a super-simple nose hit,” he said. “There was a guard involved and it was kind of tricky.”

Jacobs and his teammates eventually ran Hackner out of rocks to punch their ticket to Calgary.

Read the full article on the Sault Star's Website.

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