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Howard, Sweeting win fifth-draw battle of heavyweights

Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene, Ont., cooled off Mike McEwen’s red-hot Winnipeg team while Val Sweeting of Edmonton won the battle of the women’s heavyweights in Thursday’s fifth draw of the Home Hardware Canada Cup, presented by Meridian Manufacturing.

Both games between the highly ranked teams were neck-and-neck battles from start to finish, with Howard drawing for one with final stone to win 4-3, while Sweeting stole two in an extra end for a 10-8 victory over against Olympic champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg.

“That was a pretty good battle, back and forth all game,” said Sweeting, who fell behind 3-1 early but rallied to tie the game four different times before getting the win.

Glenn Howard, left, encourages sweeper Richard Hart. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Glenn Howard, left, encourages sweeper Richard Hart. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Sweeting had a chance to win in the 10th when she was sitting three before Jones almost cleaned house and left Sweeting taking one for the tie.

“We knew if we hit nose it was close to making what we needed to make,” said Jones. “We hit nose, it worked out well. A big shot to save the game but we just didn’t pull it out in the extra.”

Edmonton's Val Sweeting. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Edmonton’s Val Sweeting. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Sweeting hid two stones on the button in the 11th and Jones couldn’t get them out with either of her shots. She was wide with her final attempt at a double raise runback.

“We knew she would have something, but it would have to be a really good shot,” said Sweeting. “At the end of the day that’s all you can hope for, to give her the toughest shot possible.”

Sweeting, third Lori Olson-Johns, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachelle Brown improve to 2-1 while Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen, drop to 2-2.

In the other afternoon games, Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L. scored two in the 10th for a 5-4 win over men’s Olympic champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Sherry Anderson of Saskatoon edged Allison Flaxey of Listowel, Ont., 7-5 and Jim Cotter of Vernon, B.C. beat Kevin Koe of Calgary 7-2.

The results left Howard the only unbeaten men’s team at 3-0. McEwen is at 3-1, Gushue is 2-2, Koe, Jacobs and John Morris of Calgary are 1-2 and Cotter is 1-3.

Saskatoon's Sherry Anderson. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Saskatoon’s Sherry Anderson. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

On the women’s side, Rachel Homan of Ottawa is perfect at 3-0 followed by Heather Nedohin of Sherwood Park, Alta., Sweeting and Anderson at 2-1, Jones is 2-2 while Flaxey and Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont., are 0-3.

McEwen went into his match the hottest men’s team in the country but the veteran Howard matched wits and shots with him to emerge the victor.

Howard, third Richard Hart, second Jon Mead and lead Craig Savill, scored singles in the first, sixth, eighth and 10th ends while McEwen countered with their singles in the second, seventh and ninth ends.

“We got hammer and never really relinquished it,” said Howard, whose final draw needed every ounce of sweeping from his front end to get to shot rock. “We got a little fortunate, Mike had a makeable shot for two in the ninth and missed. Thanks to my sweepers they made my last shot in the 10th to the four foot and we won.”

The Home Hardware Canada Cup continues with today’s final draw at 6:30 p.m. MST.

TSN/TSN2 and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the Hardware Canada Cup. Click here for the broadcast schedule.

The Home Hardware Canada Cup format calls for the men’s and women’s teams to play a three-day round robin, with the first-place teams advancing to their respective finals on Sunday, while the second- and third-place teams meet in semi-finals on Saturday, after any required tiebreakers, to determine the other finalists.

For ticket information for the 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup, go to http://www.curling.ca/2014canadacup-en/tickets/.