The loss is still a little fresh, but Vernon’s Rick Sawatsky said it won’t be long before his Okanagan rink can look back on the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings with a sense of satisfaction.
Sawatsky, who curls with skip John Morris, Vernon’s Jim Cotter (fourth stones), Tyrel Griffith, alternate Jason Gunnlaugson and coach Pat Ryan, fell 7-4 to Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. in the championship game Sunday afternoon at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.
The win earns Jacobs and teammates Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden the right to represent Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“We had a great week,” said Sawatsky, who works for a utilities company in Kelowna. “It still stings a little bit, but once we give it a bit more time we’ll appreciate what we accomplished. One win short of our ultimate goal.”
The Morris foursome will now turn its attention to the Canadian Direct Insurance B.C. men’s playdowns, Feb. 5-9, in Vancouver. The provincial champ advances to the Tim Hortons Brier, March 1-9, at the Interior Savings Centre in Kamloops.
“That’ll be plan B,” chuckled Sawatsky, whose rink gains automatic entry to provincials as the top B.C. team in the CTRS standings.
The Morris crew also has two slam events – The National, March 12-16, in Fort McMurray, and Players’ Championship, April 15-20, in P.E.I. – on its dance card.
Sawatsky said his team couldn’t do much more against a red-hot Jacobs rink that was surgeon-like in its hitting game.
“You make one or two mistakes at that level, against a team that’s playing that well, that’s the difference between winning and losing.
“They were the best team there all week and they proved it by going undefeated. To do it there against that field is pretty amazing. They were on fire, making everything.”
Jacobs, who won the Brier last year, is the first rink to go undefeated at the Canadian Olympic trials.
“This is incredible,” he said. “What a special team we have. To go and win the Brier last year and now win the trials is unbelievable. I never thought that this would ever happen for a second.”
Jacobs held a 5-4 lead going into the ninth end where Vernon’s Cotter drew to the top four, tempting Jacobs with a difficult slash double for two. The Jacobs team nailed the double to take a 7-4 lead and ran Morris out of rocks in the 10th.
Meanwhile, Vernon’s Mark Longworth, supported by third Jamie Sexton, second Hugh Bennett and lead Mike Longworth, is entered in the six-team Okanagan playdowns this weekend in Kamloops.
There are two berths into provincials up for grabs.