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Northern Ontario advances to Brier final

Northern Ontario skip Brad Jacobs reacts to a shot during the page playoff against Newfoundland and Labrador at the Tim Hortons Brier in Edmonton, Alta. Saturday, March 9, 2013.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

And just like that, Glenn Howard's splendid Brier went to pieces.

First it was a Friday loss to Alberta in the final game of round-robin play. Then it was a risky call and a poor shot that cost him Saturday's 1-2 playoff game. Finally, it was a disappointing defeat in Sunday's semi-final at Rexall Place that assured Howard and his rink would not win back-to-back Canadian men's curling championships.

In a game he had to win to earn his way into Sunday night's final against Manitoba, Howard couldn't hold a pair of leads (2-0, 4-2) and lost 9-7 to Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario.

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Jacobs battled back then stole two in the fifth end to go ahead 6-4. In the sixth, Howard had a shot at three but managed only a single point. That gave Northern Ontario the hammer for the seventh where Jacobs used it to score another deuce.

Jacobs stole another point in the eighth to put a stranglehold on the game. That made the final a Northern Ontario versus Manitoba affair, with Howard playing Brad Gushue of Newfoundland/Labrador in Sunday afternoon's bronze medal game, a sour consolation.

For Jacobs, it's been a short but whirlwind career as a Brier skip. The 27-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie took his rink to the bronze medal at the 2010 Brier. Last year, Jacobs finished 5-6 and missed the playoffs altogether.

The last time a Northern Ontario rink won the Brier was in 1985 when Thunder Bay's Al Hackner beat Alberta's Pat Ryan.

Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton is looking for his fourth Brier title as a skip and a continuation of a personal trend. In his three previous championship wins, Stoughton had played in the 1-2 playoff game, won it then captured the Tankard.

"I don't know why (that happened)," Stoughton said the other day after beating Ontario in the 1-2 game. "I'm just trying to digest this win."

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About the Author
Sports writer

Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. He joined the Globe and Mail in 1997 with an extensive sports background having covered Stanley Cup finals, the Grey Cup, Summer and Winter Olympics, the 1980 Miracle on Ice, the 1989 Super Bowl riot and the 1989 earthquake World Series. More

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