It was a very cool and comfortable Canadian rink that opened up the 2013 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship with a 7-6 win over China at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
Brad Jacobs and his Sault. Ste. Marie crew of third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden forced Rui Liu into taking one in the first end, then peppered him with a deuce in the second and single steals in the fourth and fifth ends to open a 4-1 lead.
A three-ender in the seventh made it 7-2 before Liu bounced back.
“I’d really like to see the percentages from that game. I think we were probably pretty high,” said Jacobs, who returns for Finland this morning at 9 then Scotland at 7 p.m. “We curled really well, made all the shots we had to make, capitalized on the misses.”
The percentages told the tale, with Jacobs curling 100 per cent into the ninth end. By game’s end he had curled 96 per cent, Fry was at 95, E.J. Harnden at 94 and Ryan Harnden finished at 89 per cent. As a team, they were a collective 94 per cent.
It was very efficient and tidy until Canada gave up a deuce to Liu in the ninth and a steal of one in 10, but it was over by then.
E.J. made a sweet hit and flop to set up the pivotal seventh end and then recorded the shot of the day with his run-back takeout that killed three Chinese stones.
“I was salivating. I see shots like that and for me, as a second, those are the exciting ones. I saw that line up and I was like, ‘Please, please give it to me.’ He [Jacobs] did and I was fortunate enough to make it, so I was pretty happy,” said E.J. Harnden.
As delighted as his skip.
“No surprise, I know that he salivates over those shots and I know when he’s going to make them because he calls the shot on his own,” said Jacobs. “He yelled down, ‘I like that. Cross it with the out-turn.’ The broom went down and the shot was made.
In other games, Sweden’s Niklas Edin survived a major scare in defeating Finland’s Aku Kauste 7-6, Jiri Snitil of the Czech Republic surprised Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud 8-5 thanks to a three-ender in the eighth and Sven Michel of Switzerland dumped Russia’s Andrey Drozdov 6-4.
Sweden was back on the ice in the evening draw and edged Russia 6-5 and China dumped the Czechs 12-5. Scotland’s David Murdoch opened with a 7-5 win over Japan’s Yusuke Morozumi in the night draw and American Brady Clark downed Denmark’s Rasmus Stejme 8-3.
Edin knew he got away with one in the afternoon draw.
“I had a terrible start,” he said.
“We were really lucky to come back in that game. They had an unfortunate mistake in the ninth end to give us a chance at four.”
Edin struggled with draw weight early, curling at just 63 per cent halfway through.
The attendance was 2,897 for the opening session and pro-Canada as flags waved.
“It feels real good to come out with a win in our first game and against a good team, too,” said Jacobs, who picked out a lonely Chinese stone for three in the seventh end to make it 7-2 . “You could really feel the crowd. We’ve never experienced that before.”
EXTRA ENDS: It may be the men’s championship, but the women are having their say as well. The opening matchup between Sweden and Finland featured coaches Eva Lund and Oona Kauste for the respective teams. Lund was an Olympic gold medallist with Anette Norberg.
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