It was a crucial dogfight between the team that had crushed almost every opponent in their path, and a team that had fought for every inch of ground along the way, in the mens final of the Home Hardware Canada Cup in Affinity Place.
Brad Jacobs beat all but one in the round robin, getting an early bye. On the other hand, Kevin Koe gutted out a come from behind victory over Brad Gushue in the semi final, to earn a spot in the final.
Jacobs got a two point start in the first end, before blanking the next. Koe used his hammer effectively in the third to narrow the lead to one, however, Jacobs ended the fourth with a takeout to grab another point, going up 3-1.
Things then got interesting in the fifth. Koe released his final shot as time was running out, but it was too late. The rock went the length of the ice anyway, with a frustrated Koe second, Ben Hebert, exploding about the call and arguing his team's case heatedly and explicitly to the umpire, and to Team Jacobs.
A tamer sixth end saw zeros added to the board for either side, before an aggressive seventh. Chances were traded both ways before Jacobs used the hammer in a draw to the button for one. In the eighth, the house was cleared leaving Koe a draw to the button with the hammer to pick up a single point, maintaining a close 4-3 following to Jacobs.
In the ninth, Koe executed a slick double takeout with his final throw. Jacobs had the hammer, and couldn't quite clean the house. Koe took a point to knot the score at 4 heading into the final end. However, Jacobs held on for the 5-4 final score and his first Canada Cup championship.
"What a night, it couldn't have went any better," he expressed at ice level following the presentation ceremony, "A nice, boring final. I got an early deuce, and really controlled that game. I'm just really proud of the way that the three guys in front of me played all week...just a great week all around. I'm happy for Marc (Kennedy) stepping in here, what a season for him so far."
"I think we controlled our emotions very well. I think that was the most relaxed I've ever seen our team in a final. At least, in a long time. I think that's one of the things we've been working on the most lately, is controlling our emotions and not letting them control us, and I think we did a great job of that tonight."
However, tensions did rise in that fifth end when a potential Koe deuce became irrelevant thanks to timing error.
"That's the rules of this event. You've got to be careful of that stuff. It happened a few times this week, and to see that happen in the final is unfortunate, but what can I say. You're going to take any break you can in a final."
"We took a time out...and he (the official) told us he had 11 seconds, and they didn't correct the clock. We thought he was just going to do it. The guy at the other end didn't know," said a frustrated Kevin Koe after the game, "I mean, I know I missed my shot in five, but we could have probably communicated better. And the other officials out there, telling BJ (Neufeld, third), to stop right away. I know they're trying their best, but it's an important part of their job, and if they're going to come do it, they've got to do it right. In my opinion, they didn't in that situation."
The event was field testing a new timing system, and one that many competitors struggled with. Instead of the standard 38 minutes of thinking time per game, teams get 4 minutes per end for the first half, and 4 minutes and fifteen seconds per end in the second.
"That's probably not why we lost the game, but that's a big thing. We could have been tied up, we could have swept that difference to still get our deuce there. BJ wasn't even paying attention, because the other official was calling him over."
As a week as a whole, however, Koe was happy with his crew's effort in making to the event, and getting as far as they had.
For Brad Jacobs' third, Marc Kennedy, it was lucky timing in filling in with the quartet and replacing Ryan Fry for the season.
"Man, what a week. That was impressive. I don't think EJ (Harnden, second) missed a shot and Brad played great all week and Ryan (Harnden) was on fire, I think we just really enjoyed each other and had a lot of fun. Sometimes that's the secret to winning," he stated, all smiles beside the ice.
"We just played the week out...I couldn't commit to anything else this season, and we're all thinking about Ryan (Fry), he's going to come back and make this team as good as it ever was. This was a one week 'see how it goes', and that's all it was, and it was a special week."
Brad Jacobs and his crew receive around $20,000 in cash, a spot in the 2021 Road to the Roar Olympic Pre-Trials, and a spot in the World Curling Federation World Cup.
Earlier in the day, Jennifer Jones dug deep into her deep well of experience to pull out some highlight reel shots, to set a record of four Home Hardware Canada Cup womens championships, and her second straight Cup.
The wins wrap up an epic five days of curling in the Energy City. Nearly 200 volunteers, over 60 competitors - 15 teams - and many fans all took part in the event.