The Brier hopes of Vernon’s Jim Cotter are dwindling.
Undefeated Brad Jacobs improved to 8-0 in Thursday’s opening round of the championship pool at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian Men’s Curling Championships in Brandon, downing Cotter 11-5 in eight ends, helped by picking up five in the third end, which gave the 2013 champions a commanding 7 -2 lead.
Jacobs added deuces with the hammer in the fifth and seventh ends, while Cotter, backed by third Steve Laycock, second Tyrel Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky, could not get more than one point while having last rock in the sixth and eighth ends.
Cotter falls to 4-4 overall and simply can’t afford another loss with three crossover games remaining, including a match with Brendan Bottcher’s Wild Card rink at 5 p.m. Pacific.
The top four rinks after play Friday advance to the playoffs, which begin Saturday.
Kevin Koe’s Calgary rink joined Jacobs at 8-0 by scoring three with hammer in the 10th end to knock off Bottcher’s rink from Edmonton 7-6 in a Battle of Alberta. Bottcher drops to 6-2.
Defending champion Brad Gushue’s Team Canada squad from St. John’s, Nfld. improved to 7-1 win a 6-3 win over Manitoba’s Mike McEwen, who falls to 4-4 with Cotter and Kirk Muyres of Saskatchewan.
Ontario’s Scott McDonald also used a three-ender in 10 to beat Muyres 7-4. McDonald improves to 5-3.
In other games at 5 p.m., Koe will play McEwen, McDonald faces Jacobs and Gushue will take on Muyres.
* After losing their first four games, Canada has rattled off five straight wins and moved into a playoff position at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Stirling, Scotland.
Canada, featuring Spallumcheen’s Ina Forrest, who did not play in the first four games, defeated Germany 7-2 and the U.S. 7-3 Thursday to improve to 5-4 and sit in a five-way tie for third place with Korea, Latvia, Scotland and Switzerland.
Norway leads at 7-2, followed by China at 6-3.
Canada completes the prelminary round Friday against Estonia (4-5) and Scotland (5-4).