Flasch and Bottcher win crossover games at Brier, Gunnlaugson and Jacobs eliminated

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Brad Jacobs couldn’t leave the Enmax Center fast enough after a resounding loss to Saskatchewan’s Colton Flasch ended his hopes of making the Tim Hortons Brier playoffs on Friday.

Jacobs went straight to the locker room after the 10-3 loss, changed into his usual clothes and came out later with a small wheeled suitcase. He answered a few quick questions from the media before leaving the arena, his Brier drought extended to nine years.

“I’m pretty frustrated,” Jacobs said.

“It was just a really bad performance and not like us, that’s for sure.”

More was expected of the 2014 Olympic champion and fifth-placed team in the world. A 6-2 round robin performance gave Jacobs the No. 2 seed in Group B, but he was flat against Flasch, who beat Wild Card Two’s Matt Dunstone in a break. tie earlier in the day.

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Flasch started with two runs and capitalized on a Northern Ontario error in the fourth end. Jacobs picked his own stone to give Flasch a draw for four that put the game out of reach.

“You have to hand it to them,” Jacobs said.

“Honestly, I didn’t think they had that kind of game in them. I expected them to give us chances like they gave Dunstone a million times, but they didn’t.

READ MORE: Gushue and Koe hot on the heels at Tim Hortons Brier, Flasch win forces tiebreaker

Flasch threw a 95% clip as the Northern Ontario fullback struggled. Jacobs was at a game-low 59%, and vice-Marc Kennedy was only marginally better at 66%.

Northern Ontario conceded after just seven ends.

“We knew they were going to put a lot of rocks in play and we had to be precise,” Flasch said. “We certainly were.”

Canadian Brendan Bottcher knocked out Jason Gunnlaugson of the Wild Card Three 7-3 in the other crossover playoff game. That set up a weekend finale with Bottcher, Flasch, Alberta’s Kevin Koe and Wild Card One’s undefeated Brad Gushue.

“We had a lot of very close battles against Gunner, so I expected it to be a close game,” Bottcher said. “Luckily we had a few breaks and we were able to blow it all up.”

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Gunnlaugson, known for his striking skills, was slightly off in the afternoon game and it proved costly. He missed a double out in the fourth end that let Bottcher tie for three and a lead he wouldn’t give up.

“There’s a reason these guys have been in the last four straight years,” said Gunnlaugson, who beat Manitoba’s Mike McEwen 9-3 in a morning tiebreaker.

“They’re pretty good.”

An expanded six-team playoff format is used this season. The winners of the Friday night games — Flasch meets Koe and Gushue plays Bottcher — advance to the Page 1-2 playoff game on Saturday while the losers meet in the 3-4 game.

READ MORE: Fans and organizers enjoy Brier experience in Lethbridge

The winner of Page 1-2 will go straight to Sunday night’s final. The 1-2 loser faces the 3-4 winner in the semi-finals earlier in the day.

Bottcher beat Koe for his first national men’s curling title last season in the Calgary bubble. This year’s Brier winner will represent Canada at the World Men’s Curling Championship April 2-10 in Las Vegas.

Kerri Einarson won her third straight Scotties Tournament of Hearts title last month in Thunder Bay, Ont. She will wear the maple leaf at the Women’s World Playoffs March 19-27 in Prince George, B.C.

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© 2022 The Canadian Press

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