Brad Jacobs and his Northern Ontario teammates are showing they belong at the Tim Hortons Brier.

The youngest rink at the Canadian men’s curling championship by a wide margin — featuring the youngest skip and nobody older than age 26 — continues to hang in playoff contention in its Brier debut, sitting near the top of the leaderboard with a 7-2 record heading into the final day of round-robin play at the Metro Centre.

Jacobs, a 24-year-old who is employed as a home-theatre expert at Future Shop, finds his name alongside curlers he grew up idolizing, such as Ontario’s Glenn Howard and Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton.

“This has definitely been the thrill of our careers so far,” Jacobs said. “We’ve gotten the nerves from playing the big-name teams out of the way. We chum around with them out there, and to chum around with your childhood idols is such a cool feeling.”

Northern Ontario downed Nova Scotia’s Ian Fitzner-LeBlanc 7-2 yesterday afternoon and took down P.E.I.’s Rod MacDonald 7-6 in the evening.

The talk coming into the Brier was all about former champions Howard and Stoughton as well as 2006 Olympic gold-medallist Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador and World Curling Tour star Kevin Koe of Alberta.

Jacobs has moved past Stoughton, 5-4, and is in excellent position to advance, locked in a three-way tie for second with Gushue and Koe behind unbeaten Howard, 9-0.

The top four teams make the playoffs.

“I think probably the fans are surprised, but I’m not surprised with the way we’ve played,” Jacobs said.

The foursome from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., faces a tough test today when it faces Gushue in the morning and Quebec’s Serge Reid (5-4) in the afternoon.

Jacobs, who made his Brier debut in 2007 as a third and went again in 2008 as an alternate, is hoping to become the first Northern Ontario rink to win the Brier since Al Hackner did it in 1985 and the first to make the playoffs since 1993.

“We’re coming in here feeling virtually no pressure,” Jacobs said.

“We know Northern Ontario hasn’t done very well in the past, but we have a lot to prove and so far we’ve done a pretty good job of it.”

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