Ontario’s Glenn Howard moved to the front of the Tim Hortons Brier pack at the Metro Centre on Sunday afternoon, concluding a sweep of its day’s assignments with a tight 7-6 victory over Jeff Richard of British Columbia.
The less-experienced Kelowna team gave up deuces in the fourth and sixth ends and couldn’t recover but still had Howard looking at a pair in the 10th end when he went down for his last shot, an open draw to the four-foot ring.
Howard executed the shot perfectly to extend Ontario’s record to 3-and-0.
Brad Gushue’s St. John’s team and Kevin Koe of Edmonton remained the only other unbeaten skips in the field — Gushue hammered Darrell McKee’s Saskatchewan troops from Saskatoon by an 11-5 score while Koe and his Albertans dumped Rod MacDonald of P.E.I. 9-4.
Alberta and Newfoundland/Labrador collide in tonight’s feature hookup at 7:30 p.m. ET.
In a late-finishing tilt, Serge Reid of Quebec scored two in the eighth and two in the 10th end without requiring the hammer to rally and upend hometown favourite Ian Fitzner-LeBlanc 8-7.
“That,” said Howard of his B.C., opponent, “is a damn good team. You don’t win any province playing lousy, and those guys are very good. They’ll do some damage this week.”
Richard said his team was happy to have drawn (a) Manitoba and (b) Ontario as opening adversaries.
“You want to play these guys early and find out where you stack up,” said Richard. “I think losing two on last rock means we played them pretty tough. We’re catching on to the ice but so are they. So they’ll get better and we’ve played them. I think we’re in good shape in spite of an 0-and-2 start.”
In other action tonight, the Territories (0-3) plays Northern Ontario (1-2), New Brunswick (2-1) goes against Manitoba (2-1) and Nova Scotia (0-2) tackles British Columbia (0-2).