Canada to be represented by Team Glenn Howard

Photo: CCA / Mike Burns

Glenn Howard who has won seven straight Ontario provincial curling titles while rarely suffering a defeat, went into the Tim Hortons Brier final with a dubious record of having won only one Canadian national final in the last five tries.

He and his team of Wayne Middaugh, Brent Laing and Craig Savill were up against Alberta’s Kevin Koe, who conquered two years ago in the Brier’s last showdown between the two teams. This time round however, Howard emerged with a 7-6 victory over Koe before 9,974 fans in the Credit Union Centre, Saskatoon.

After the game, Howard said: “I told you we’d bring our A-game and there it is! Still I had to make the last shot, Koe kept hanging on, but, oh, it’s a great feeling. It’s a little monkey off our back, I think, but we didn’t miss anything, we brought it tonight.

It was Howard’s 34th win in his team’s last 35 outings on curling’s ice sheets.

Right from the get-go and through a 12-game gauntlet during which the team required five extra ends to stay in command of the tournament, Howard rarely wavered.

“I think the grind at the start of the week set us up for this,” Howard said. “I didn’t know it at the time but we won four or five in a row there and it toughened us up and the last four or five games we played we really didn’t leave a thing out there.”

A miscue from Alberta third Pat Simmons in the first end set up Ontario with a deuce and the eventual champs never looked back.

“We got an uncharacteristic miss out of Pat, we got our deuce and then kept it tight,” said Howard.

“They’d get one, we’d get two back, but, even in the last end, the way the four-rock rule is, it can still get ugly. If he makes the full double I’m going against a lot.”

Ontario scored deuces in the fourth and sixth ends and kept Koe to difficult singles with draws to the four-foot until the ninth. In truth, the match wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

Koe directed Simmons, Carter Rycroft and Nolan Thiessen.

Ontario won its second Brier title in the seven years since Howard has been carrying the torch. He now has an opportunity to repeat his 2007 world triumph scored at Edmonton.

This time, Howard’s team will travel to the St. Jacobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, March 31-April 8 to defend the title won last year by Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton in Regina.

“We’re going to give it a good run at Basel,” said Howard. “We’re on a pretty good run now and I hope we can bring that into play in Switzerland.

Middaugh won his third Brier title while Laing and Savill each celebrated their second triumphs.

Ironically, Howard ran up the same 12-1 record two years ago at Halifax. He was unbeaten when Koe posted the final game upset.

Information courtesy of the Canadian Curling Association

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