News Players' Championship

Jacobs edges Flasch in extra end to stay in Players’ Championship

TORONTO — Team Brad Jacobs second E.J. Harnden wasn’t asking for much for his 39th birthday Thursday, just a win in the Princess Auto Players’ Championship.

With the crew from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., already down 0-2 in the triple knockout preliminary round, Team Jacobs needed a victory to remain in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling major tournament and avoid early elimination.

Happy birthday, Harnden: Team Jacobs were able to fend off Colton Flasch and his Saskatoon squad 5-4 in an extra end during Draw 11 action at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

“That’s what I said, I’m like, ‘I’m not asking for much on my birthday today, just the win,'” Harnden said with a laugh. “We were able to get that accomplished and it’s just nice to get a win and to kind of get things rolling a little bit, so it’s great.”

It’s also special for Harnden to return to the venue where he captured his first career Grand Slam title with Team Jacobs in 2015.

“We always have a great time here at the Players’ Championship, especially with all of the history in this building, old Maple Leaf Gardens,” Harnden said. “It’s always a pleasure to come here, the crowd’s always great and we love coming to Toronto. It’s lots of fun.”

Trailing by two, Jacobs was able to take control of the game in the sixth end crowding up the house and forcing Flasch to make a double takeout to cut down the damage. Still, Jacobs was able to hang a crooked number on the board with a tap to score three points and take a 4-3 lead.

Flasch looked to draw for two and the win in the eighth, but his shooter clipped a guard and he was only able to count one point that pushed the game into the extra end.

Jacobs didn’t need to throw his last, however, as he sat two rocks and Flasch could only remove one of them.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion Jacobs isn’t out of the weeds yet as his team will now take on Toronto’s own Team John Epping in the C Event semifinals.

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. 

Meanwhile, Team Marco Hoesli scored their first-ever victory in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling holding on to beat Team Yannick Schwaller 6-5 in a Swiss derby elimination game. Hoesli counted three in the third to take a 4-1 lead, but Schwaller rallied with a deuce in the fourth followed by a single steal in the fifth to tie it back up. The teams traded singles in six and seven, but Hoesli held the hammer coming home and added one last point.

Team Hoesli will clash with Regina’s Team Matt Dunstone in the C semifinals.

In the women’s division, Team Mackenzie Zacharias of Altona, Man., swiped a 6-1 victory to oust Team Tabitha Peterson from the United States. It was steal city for Zacharias, who was already up by a point and pirated single points in four consecutive ends to roll away.

It was the first win for the 2020 world junior champion Zacharias in the series. Her team now plays Edmonton’s Team Laura Walker in the C Event semifinals with both clubs holding 1-2 records.

Team Anna Hasselborg from Sweden also moved onto the C semifinals after ousting Team Un-Chi Gim of South Korea 7-2. Hasselborg, who is a Players’ Championship title away from completing a career Grand Slam, will take on six-time event winner Jennifer Jones and her Winnipeg-based team.

The men’s and women’s C semifinals go down Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET / 5:30 a.m. PT.


The Princess Auto Players’ Championship continues with Draw 12 (A Event finals) at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT airing exclusively online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international). The featured game is Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli against Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul in an all-Manitoba matchup.

Tickets are available at the box office and online at


The Princess Auto Players’ Championship is the third event of the 2021-22 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world with a combined $350,000 prize purse. Winning teams earn $35,000. … The Pinty’s Cup will also be awarded to the season champions following the conclusion of the Princess Auto Players’ Championship. Winners of the Pinty’s Cup receive $50,000 bonuses.