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Hammerless Ontario keeps cruising

Ontario skip Glenn Howard experienced something new on a sheet of curling ice Tuesday afternoon at the Tim Hortons Brier.

Glenn Howard (Photo: Michael Burns Photography)

Glenn Howard (Photo: Michael Burns Photography)

He played seven ends without the hammer and then scored three points with it in the eighth frame to stun Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue 6-1.

“Never in my life have I gone that long without the hammer,” said Howard with a grin. “But that had to be a good thing. You can’t be down too much as long as that’s going on”

The result constituted the Ontario team’s fifth win in six games and kept Howard within hailing distance of Manitoba’s unbeaten Jeff Stoughton (6-0) and defending champion Alberta skipped by gold-medal winner Kevin Martin (6-1).

Gushue blanked three ends but Ontario scored first in the fourth and stole two more in the fifth.

“We tried to keep it simple because we haven’t been very successful getting leads set up,” explained Gushue.

“But we weren’t very crisp, flashing hits, missing draws . . . I missed that draw in the fifth. Then in the next end we couldn’t hit the rings for some reason. It was very strange.”

His in-turn draw in the fifth to roughly six feet curled and died with Howard sitting two counters.

The Newfoundland crew finally gave up the hammer in the seventh, taking a single. Howard executed two killer shots in the eighth to double his score and settle the issue.

Howard goes right back at it against Manitoba today at 7:30 (ET).

“We’ve obviously got our hands full, they’re obviously playing really well,” said Howard. “They’re 6-and-0. We’re 5-and-1. It would be really big if we could pull this one off.”

Gushue (4-2), who knocked off Martin on Monday night after he’d racked up 30 straight Brier wins, faces Jamie Koe of the Territories later today.

“Hopefully, we’ll get back tonight with a strong outing and get back some of the momentum we generated last night (against Alberta),” said the 30-year-old skip from The Rock.

“We have nobody to blame but ourselves. It was just poor executions, poor throws, poor communication, there was a lot of stuff that went wrong.”

In other afternoon action, Saskatchewan hammer-thrower Pat Simmons scored an open hit for a deuce with last rock to defeat Jim Cotter of B.C. 6-4 and square the Mean Green record at 3-and-3.

Elsewhere, Alberta’s Martin defeated Quebec’s Francois Gagne 7-5 and Shawn Adams of Halifax rebounded from a tough morning loss to Martin and doubled up on Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs 10-5.

The Bluenosers have four losses along with Jacobs, Koe and James Grattan of New Brunswick.

“We’re still in ‘er but we pretty well having to run the table,” said Adams.

He controlled his morning squabble with Alberta until the latter hit for a go-ahead three in the ninth ends.

“It’s hard to keep that team from scoring multiple points,” said Adams. “I missed a couple of doubles and that’s all it takes. I thought we managed them half-decent until the ninth end. What do we do now? Just go forward.”

Martin commented on a “lot more energy in our team” during the win over Quebec.

Meanwhile, Steve Laycock’s Regina entry outlasted the struggling B.C. team (1-5) in a see-saw affair.

“It was a funny game,” said Simmons. “Every end, early, the team with hammer was in great shape and by the time it got down to last rocks the throwers were in huge trouble. It was basically a matter of drawing against enemy rocks all afternoon.

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Draw 10 . . .

Larry Wood

LONDON

Ontario skip Glenn Howard experienced something new on a sheet of curling ice Tuesday afternoon at the Tim Hortons Brier.

He played seven ends without the hammer and then scored three points with it in the eighth frame to stun Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue 6-1.

“Never in my life have I gone that long without the hammer,” said Howard with a grin. “But that had to be a good thing. You can’t be down too much as long as that’s going on”

The result constituted the Ontario team’s fifth win in six games and kept Howard within hailing distance of Manitoba’s unbeaten Jeff Stoughton (6-0) and defending champion Alberta skipped by gold-medal winner Kevin Martin (6-1).

Gushue blanked three ends but Ontario scored first in the fourth and stole two more in the fifth.

“We tried to keep it simple because we haven’t been very successful getting leads set up,” explained Gushue.

“But we weren’t very crisp, flashing hits, missing draws . . . I missed that draw in the fifth. Then in the next end we couldn’t hit the rings for some reason. It was very strange.”

His in-turn draw in the fifth to roughly six feet curled and died with Howard sitting two counters.

The Newfoundland crew finally gave up the hammer in the seventh, taking a single. Howard executed two killer shots in the eighth to double his score and settle the issue.

Howard goes right back at it against Manitoba today at 7:30 (ET).

“We’ve obviously got our hands full, they’re obviously playing really well,” said Howard. “They’re 6-and-0. We’re 5-and-1. It would be really big if we could pull this one off.”

Gushue (4-2), who knocked off Martin on Monday night after he’d racked up 30 straight Brier wins, faces Jamie Koe of the Territories later today.

“Hopefully, we’ll get back tonight with a strong outing and get back some of the momentum we generated last night (against Alberta),” said the 30-year-old skip from The Rock.

“We have nobody to blame but ourselves. It was just poor executions, poor throws, poor communication, there was a lot of stuff that went wrong.”

In other afternoon action, Saskatchewan hammer-thrower Pat Simmons scored an open hit for a deuce with last rock to defeat Jim Cotter of B.C. 6-4 and square the Mean Green record at 3-and-3.

Elsewhere, Alberta’s Martin defeated Quebec’s Francois Gagne 7-5 and Shawn Adams of Halifax rebounded from a tough morning loss to Martin and doubled up on Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs 10-5.

The Bluenosers have four losses along with Jacobs, Koe and James Grattan of New Brunswick.

“We’re still in ‘er but we pretty well having to run the table,” said Adams.

He controlled his morning squabble with Alberta until the latter hit for a go-ahead three in the ninth ends.

“It’s hard to keep that team from scoring multiple points,” said Adams. “I missed a couple of doubles and that’s all it takes. I thought we managed them half-decent until the ninth end. What do we do now? Just go forward.”

Martin commented on a “lot more energy in our team” during the win over Quebec.

Meanwhile, Steve Laycock’s Regina entry outlasted the struggling B.C. team (1-5) in a see-saw affair.

“It was a funny game,” said Simmons. “Every end, early, the team with hammer was in great shape and by the time it got down to last rocks the throwers were in huge trouble. It was basically a matter of drawing against enemy rocks all afternoon.

“We were a little POed from yesterday, all the wrong doings (two losses), but our confidence wasn’t really bruised. That wasn’t our sharpest game but we battled and it was huge result for us.”

Saskatchewan faces Eddie MacKenzie’s Islanders (1-5) tonight. B.C goes against New Brunswick.

Draw 10 . . .

Larry Wood

LONDON

Ontario skip Glenn Howard experienced something new on a sheet of curling ice Tuesday afternoon at the Tim Hortons Brier.

He played seven ends without the hammer and then scored three points with it in the eighth frame to stun Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue 6-1.

“Never in my life have I gone that long without the hammer,” said Howard with a grin. “But that had to be a good thing. You can’t be down too much as long as that’s going on”

The result constituted the Ontario team’s fifth win in six games and kept Howard within hailing distance of Manitoba’s unbeaten Jeff Stoughton (6-0) and defending champion Alberta skipped by gold-medal winner Kevin Martin (6-1).

Gushue blanked three ends but Ontario scored first in the fourth and stole two more in the fifth.

“We tried to keep it simple because we haven’t been very successful getting leads set up,” explained Gushue.

“But we weren’t very crisp, flashing hits, missing draws . . . I missed that draw in the fifth. Then in the next end we couldn’t hit the rings for some reason. It was very strange.”

His in-turn draw in the fifth to roughly six feet curled and died with Howard sitting two counters.

The Newfoundland crew finally gave up the hammer in the seventh, taking a single. Howard executed two killer shots in the eighth to double his score and settle the issue.

Howard goes right back at it against Manitoba today at 7:30 (ET).

“We’ve obviously got our hands full, they’re obviously playing really well,” said Howard. “They’re 6-and-0. We’re 5-and-1. It would be really big if we could pull this one off.”

Gushue (4-2), who knocked off Martin on Monday night after he’d racked up 30 straight Brier wins, faces Jamie Koe of the Territories later today.

“Hopefully, we’ll get back tonight with a strong outing and get back some of the momentum we generated last night (against Alberta),” said the 30-year-old skip from The Rock.

“We have nobody to blame but ourselves. It was just poor executions, poor throws, poor communication, there was a lot of stuff that went wrong.”

In other afternoon action, Saskatchewan hammer-thrower Pat Simmons scored an open hit for a deuce with last rock to defeat Jim Cotter of B.C. 6-4 and square the Mean Green record at 3-and-3.

Elsewhere, Alberta’s Martin defeated Quebec’s Francois Gagne 7-5 and Shawn Adams of Halifax rebounded from a tough morning loss to Martin and doubled up on Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs 10-5.

The Bluenosers have four losses along with Jacobs, Koe and James Grattan of New Brunswick.

“We’re still in ‘er but we pretty well having to run the table,” said Adams.

He controlled his morning squabble with Alberta until the latter hit for a go-ahead three in the ninth ends.

“It’s hard to keep that team from scoring multiple points,” said Adams. “I missed a couple of doubles and that’s all it takes. I thought we managed them half-decent until the ninth end. What do we do now? Just go forward.”

Martin commented on a “lot more energy in our team” during the win over Quebec.

Meanwhile, Steve Laycock’s Regina entry outlasted the struggling B.C. team (1-5) in a see-saw affair.

“It was a funny game,” said Simmons. “Every end, early, the team with hammer was in great shape and by the time it got down to last rocks the throwers were in huge trouble. It was basically a matter of drawing against enemy rocks all afternoon.

“We were a little POed from yesterday, all the wrong doings (two losses), but our confidence wasn’t really bruised. That wasn’t our sharpest game but we battled and it was huge result for us.”

Saskatchewan faces Eddie MacKenzie’s Islanders (1-5) tonight. B.C goes against New Brunswick.