CHESTERMERE, Alta. — Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., avoided an early upset to start the Boost National.
Jacobs scored two points in the extra end to edge Winnipeg’s Team Braden Calvert 6-4 Tuesday morning during the opening draw of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Culing tournament at Chestermere Recreation Centre.
The defending champions Team Jacobs, who were finalists at the Masters a week-and-a-half ago, advanced to the A-semifinals of the triple knockout stage while Calvert dropped into the B-side.
“Any time you win the first game at a Slam is good,” Team Jacobs third Marc Kennedy said. “It sets you up for a good week. It was a good test for us, 8 a.m. game against a team that came out and played really well. Braden made his first 10 or 12 shots, so they played us tough. We hung in there.”
Calvert started with the hammer and opened the scoring with a deuce in the third, but Jacobs hit to take two points in the fourth end to knot it up 2-2 at the break.
After Calvert was forced to hit for just a single in the sixth, he came up light on his last in the seventh allowing Jacobs to capitalize with an open draw to pot a pair of points and take a 4-3 lead.
Jacobs was able to hold his opponent to one point in the eighth and force overtime as Calvert looked to tap his own stone and bump over Jacobs’ rock but missed. Calvert landed on the button in the extra end, but Jacobs was able to come around the guard and bump out the shot rock to secure the victory.
“We got a nice break in eight when he missed his last one,” Kennedy said. “That was a makeable shot for him, he just threw it a little heavy but we’ll take it. We played a good extra end and now we get a bit of a rest.”
The no tick zone is in effect at the Boost National where teams cannot tick guards off of the centre line during the first five rocks of the eighth and extra ends. However, If the rock doesn’t land on the centre line, it’s fair game for to be nudged aside, which was the case in this one.
“Thankfully they missed the centre line on the second one and (lead) Ryan (Harnden) made a good tick,” Kennedy said. “Tough to get into too much trouble after you make the one tick. Then (second) E.J. (Harnden) made a great double peel. After that, we kind of knew we had a bit of a simpler shot. It certainly makes it more challenging with the no tick.”
Switzerland’s Team Peter de Cruz also needed an extra end to solve Winnipeg’s Team Mike McEwen 4-3.
It was close all across the sheets as Team Bruce Mouat topped Team Ross Paterson in an all-Scottish matchup and Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., beat Winnipeg’s Team Jason Gunnlaugson by identical 5-4 scores.
Mouat, who topped Jacobs in the Masters men’s final, is seeking a fourth consecutive GSOC title.
Triple knockout play continues with Draw 2 at 11:30 a.m. MT.
TRIPLE KNOCKOUT EXPLAINED
The triple knockout consists of three brackets: A, B and C. Teams must win three games in order to qualify for the playoffs. Each loss drops a team to a lower bracket until they lose three games and are out of the tournament. Two A teams (3-0 records), three B teams (3-1 records) and three C teams (3-2 records) advance to the quarterfinals.
The Boost National is the second of five events on the 2021-22 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling schedule and features 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world. … A combined $300,000 prize purse is up for grabs with the winning teams earning $33,000 plus spots in the season-ending KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup. … Triple knockout play runs through to Saturday morning. The quarterfinals and semifinals are also Saturday with both finals set for Sunday. … Tickets are available at boost.goigniter.com.