Road To The Olympic Games


Glenn Howard needs 11 ends to earn world final berth

Canada's Glenn Howard will play for the gold medal at the world men's curling championship. He qualified for the championship game with a 7-6 win over Scotland's Tom Brewster in the Page playoff 1-versus-2 game.

Canadian skip will attempt to win 4th gold medal at event after downing Scotland in playoff

Canada's skip Glenn Howard delivers a stone during Saturday's Page 1-2 playoff. He prevailed 7-6 over Scotland's Tom Brewster in 11 ends and advances to Sunday's final. (Georgios Kefalas/Associated Press)

Canada's Glenn Howard defeated Scotland's Tom Brewster 7-6 on Saturday to reach the gold-medal game at the world men's curling championship.

Howard hit a draw to the four-foot with his final throw of the extra end to win the Page playoff 1-versus-2 game at St. Jakobshalle.

"Time and time again, he just doesn't make any big mistakes," said Canada lead Craig Savill. "He comes up with the big shot every game."

Scotland will play Sweden's Sebastian Kraupp in the evening semifinal with the winner to play Howard for gold on Sunday.

Howard, a three-time world champion, nearly won it in the 10th end but his stone overcurled a touch after it caught a little frost. That allowed Brewster to pull even with a steal of one.

After a tentative start, Canada broke the game open in the eighth end by scoring four on a triple takeout.

"You get a break and you try to run with it," Savill said. "That's what happened out here. We got a break in the eighth and we won."

Brewster came back with two points in the ninth before pulling even. Canada shot 83 per cent on the day, down slightly from its percentage over the week while Scotland shot 80 per cent.

Valiant effort

"Let's be honest, they're a great side but we were pretty close to them out there today," Brewster said. "But for one end, we were probably the better team. We've just got to take heart from that."

An estimated 2,500 fans took in the 1-2 game with vocal pockets of supporters from both sides. There was much more energy in the 9,000-seat venue compared to earlier in the week.

Howard, Savill, second Brent Laing and third Wayne Middaugh have lost just once so far, a 9-7 defeat to New Zealand in a meaningless game on the final day of the round robin.

"We just wanted to get to the final, we've got ourselves there," Howard said. "Now hopefully we'll bring the A game tomorrow night."

The Canadian rink has posted several tight victories along the way. As usual, Howard has been clutch when the games have been on the line.

He led all skips in the round robin with an 83 per cent shooting percentage.

"What sets him apart is obviously his talent," Laing said. "His consistency. He's consistently great. There's a whole bunch of skips who are consistently good. But Glenn is consistently great.

"His off-games are better than most guys' good games."

Swedes in semifinal

Sweden reached the semifinal earlier in the day with an 8-6 win over Norway's Thomas Ulsrud in the 3-versus-4 game.

"We had a really solid game and Thomas struggled a little bit in the beginning of the game," Kraupp said. "The break came in the third and fourth ends when we stole two. We played really well and kept it simple."

Kraupp filled in again for Niklas Edin, who has been hampered by a back injury for most of the week.

The semifinal loser will play Norway for bronze on Sunday. About 1,500 fans were on hand for the 3-4 game.

Howard, who won world titles 1987, 1993 and 2007, teamed with Laing, Savill and Richard Hart to win his last championship.

Middaugh, who also won gold as a skip in 1998, joined the team prior to this season after Hart's retirement.

"I don't care if you're playing tiddlywinks or you're playing ping-pong or curling, it's the world championship and it's just unbelievable," Howard said. "I still feel the same way.

"This is 25 years later, my fourth time, and I'm like a kid in a candy store running around here."

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