By Peter Ruicci, Sault Star, Sunday, February 7, 2016 4:12:43 EST PM
Sure they’re the favourites.
With a 2013 Tim Hortons Brier championship and a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics under their belts, how could they not be?
But the fact people expect them to win this week’s Men’s Provincial Championship means little to the members of the Brad Jacobs curling rink.
“At the end of the day, we have to perform as well as we can,” said Jacobs, whose team is expecting to leave on Tuesday for the five-day Northern Ontario event, which begins Wednesday at the Granite Club in North Bay. “In order to win the title, we have to play to our expectations.”
At stake is a spot representing Northern Ontario at the 2016 Brier, slated for March 5-13 in Ottawa.
Representing Community First Curling Centre, the Jacobs rink, which also features third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden, begins play Wednesday at 2 p.m. against Tanner Horgan of Copper Cliff.
At 8 p.m. Wednesday, Team Jacobs is slated to face Patrick Gelinas of Mattawa, Ont.
Eight rinks will battle through round-robin action, which wraps up Saturday morning.
The top team earns an automatic berth into Sunday’s 2 p.m. final.
Teams with the second-and-third-best records square off in a semifinal. The time for the semifinal will be determined by whether tiebreakers are needed.
It could be 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, or 9 a.m. on Sunday.
“We’re aware everyone would love to knock us off,” Jacobs said. “That’s evident when we play teams and we’re used to it by now.”
Playing a pair of 10-end games each day “is a grind,” Jacobs added. “Mentally and physically, it’s a long week.” The Sault skip also spoke of how the rink “that can overcome the grind the best and bring it in every game will have the best chance to win.”