Sometimes when we start writing sports stories we tend to focus on the highlights and results of the games we cover so I would like to take this time, before I get into the Finals to take a snapshot of some of the other happenings during the National Grand Slam of Curling.
On Friday the arena had some very special fans who were from various elementary schools. The students from St. Joes had a number of signs which were done as a class project with each of them cheering various teams like Kevin Koe and John Morris to name a couple .
The Grade 5 students from St. Theresa’s school must have been either supporting Movember or were fans of Heath McCormick as some of the students wore moustaches.
Jeff Stoughton from Winnipeg, MB was here in Sault Ste. Marie. Jeff is an icon of curling and took the time to talk to quite a few fans and was very personable. Stoughton has been curling for decades and is a three time Brier and two time World Champion. Stoughton has always been one of the stars of any event he’s participated in.
A few other notables are Brad Gushue from St. John’s NL, who just came off a win at the Masters earlier this month. Kevin Koe formed a new team for this season, John Morris also has a new team and Glenn Howard who has won a record 6 Masters titles. John Shuster from Duluth, Min has represented the US at the past 3 Olympics and won the Bronze Medal at the 2006 Torino Games. Finally, Heath McCormick, “The Moustache Man” is from Blaine, Min finished 3rd at the US Olympic curling trials in 2014.
In order for a sport to survive you must have some up and comers. Some of the young guns include teams like Adam Casey from Charlottetown, PE. Casey used to curl with Brad Gushue but returned home and formed a new team. Team Casey has reached the final at three World Curling Tour events this season. Brendan Bottcher is from Edmonton, AB and has skipped Team Canada to the gold medal at the 2012 World Junior’s.
And now let’s get on with the final. You would expect that it was going to be a close game between Mike McEwen and the 2014 Olympic Gold Medalists Brad Jacobs as both teams had a 3 win and 2 loss record. Mike McEwen had a monkey to get off his back after losing to Brad Gushue in the final at the Masters Grand Slam of Curling and Brad Jacobs has never won a Grand Slam event.
Jacobs came on strong in the 1st end stealing a point to lead Team McEwen by 1. In the 2nd end McEwen tried to get one of the Jacobs rocks out of the house to score 3 on his final stone but couldn’t get the rock out and only scored a single which tied the game going into the the 3rd end. McEwen stole a single in the 3rd as Jacobs last rock was a little heavy.
The 4th end had a lot of action but when it came down to the skip’s stones Brad Jacobs had to nudge McEwen’s stone back to score a single point which tied the game at 2. In the 5th end McEwen had to do a runback on his guard to try and take out the Jacobs rock and blank the end. McEwen’s rock stayed in the house and with the single point lost the last rock advantage.
For the 6th end Brad Jacobs second rock took out McEwen’s rock in the house and left Jacobs with sitting with 2. McEwen came back with a double peel and Jacobs blanked the end and the score was set at 3 to 2 in favor of Team McEwen.
Disaster struck in the 7th end for Team Jacobs as Brad attempted a run back to knock out McEwen’s rock but it only nudged the rock closer to the button to give McEwen a steal of one.
In the 8th end with Team Jacobs still having the hammer they had to score at least a deuce to tie the game. Down to the skip’s stones McEwen’s last rock pushed Jacobs’ stone back further so that rock was no longer in a scoring position. Brad Jacobs tried a run back on his guard to try and take out McEwen’s stone but with the miss and it was another steal of 1 for Team McEwen and the final score at the end of the game was Mike McEwen 5, Brad Jacobs 3.
Overall it was a close game and very much a nail biter. We would like to thank all the volunteers who made this event possible and look forward to having another Grand Slam of Curling come back to Sault Ste. Marie.