Howard wins record fifth straight Ontario final

Coldwater’s Glenn Howard won a record fifth straight Ontario title, defeating Ottawa’s Bryan Cochrane 5-3 Sunday in the Tankard final at the Strathcona Paper Centre. Howard and his Coldwater & District Curling Club team of third Richard Hart, second Brent Laing and lead Craig Savill are now in their sixth year together, highlighted by winning the 2007 Tim Hortons Brier in Hamilton and the Ford World Men’s in Edmonton. They’ve also been the Brier runner twice – in 2006, losing to Quebec’s Jean-Michel Ménard and in 2008 to Alberta’s Kevin Martin.  Last year in Calgary, they finished third after losing the semi-final to Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton. And of course, they lost the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials final to Martin last December in Edmonton, which determined Canada’s representatives for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Howard completed the 11-team round robin with a perfect 10-0 mark.    He then defeated Cochrane, 6-4 in the Page 1 vs 2 game to advance to the final. Cochrane, who had a 9-1 round robin mark, made it back to the final by ousting Peter Corner, 12-5 in the semi-final.  The final was a tight one, as Howard needed one in the 10th end to cement the decision. This will be the 12th Brier appearance for the 47-year-old Howard.  He played third for brother Russ in seven Briers, winning Canadian and world championships in 1987 and 1993, before skipping his team to victory over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Brad Gushue in the 2007 final. Hart will be making his fifth consecutive appearance at the Tim Hortons Brier, while Laing and Savill are making their sixth trips.  In addition to playing with Howard the last four years, they also teamed with Ontario skip John Morris in 2002, finishing the runner-up to Alberta’s Randy Ferbey at the Nokia Brier in Calgary. Savill and Laing are also Canadian and world junior champions, playing third and lead, respectively, for Ontario’s John Morris in 1998 and 1999, while Hart won a silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, as third for Canada’s Mike Harris. Ontario has won nine Briers, the last by Howard in 2007.