Glenn Howard's rink a step closer to berth in Olympic trials

Glenn Howard scored three points in the seventh end and earned a key 8-5 in over Mike McEwen in Draw 5 action at the Players' Championship. Howard's Ontario rink improved to 2-0 and can claim a berth in the 2013 Olympic trials by reaching the semifinals.

Ontario skip downs McEwen 8-5 in Draw 5; Kevin Martin also improves to 2-0

Canada's skip Glenn Howard, seen here earlier this month at the men's world championships, moved one step closer to clinching a 2013 Olympic trial berth with Wednesday's 8-5 win over Mike McEwen. (Georgios Kefalas/Associated Press)

Glenn Howard scored three points in the seventh end and earned a key 8-5 in over Mike McEwen in Draw 5 action at the Players' Championship.

Howard's rink form Coldwater, Ont., improved to 2-0 at the final Capital One Grand Slam of Curling event of the season.

Howard opened with a hit for two points in the first end, but McEwen responded with two of his own in the second.

Forcing Howard to a single in the third end, McEwen got his first lead drawing for two points in the fourth end to go up 4-3. The teams traded singles in the next two ends before things started to unravel for the McEwen team.

In the seventh end, Howard had several stones around a single McEwen rock that counted for shot, and McEwen was drawing to try and sit two and force Howard to a single point. However, McEwen slid too deep and Howard came away with three points and a 7-5 lead heading into the final end.

Howard looked to clinch the game with his last stone of the match but rubbed a guard. McEwen had a chance at claiming three points and the win, but the Winnipeg skip's last rock over-curled and picked his own stone out, handing Howard another point.

Howard moved one step closer to clinching a berth into the 2013 Olympic Trials. The reigning World Champion can claim the berth by reaching the semifinals. McEwen (0-2) needs to win the event and see Howard miss the playoffs to claim the berth.

Edmonton's Kevin Martin also improved to 2-0 with a 5-2 win over John Epping of Toronto. Martin took control in the fourth end, when his tap for three points gave him a 4-1 lead at the halfway point in the game.

Overton-Clapham moves to 4-0

Meanwhile, Winnipeg's Cathy Overton-Clapham is the only undefeated women's team left.

Overton-Clapham is 4-0 after defeating Saskatoon's Stefanie Lawton 7-3 in a clash of undefeated teams at EastLink Arena on Wednesday night. Lawton fell to 3-1.

"I couldn't really ask for anything better," said Overton-Clapham. "It's such a battle with such great teams. To be 4-0, we'll take it for sure." The turning point was a six-ender by Overton-Clapham in the fifth to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 7-2 lead.

"We were only lying one for the longest time, and they had one kind of frozen to ours," said Overton-Clapham in explaining how the end unfolded.

"Unfortunately, on [Lawton's third stone] Sherry Anderson's shot she gave us an opportunity to try and move it out of the way, and we did."

Earlier in the day, Overton-Clapham, who is supported by third stone Jenna Loder, second stone Ashley Howard and lead Breanne Meakin, beat Edmonton's Heather Nedohin 7-3 and Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont., 6-5.

No. 1 seed Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg went 2-1 on Wednesday to even her record at 2-2. Jones started the day with a 7-6 extra-end win over Winnipeg's Chelsea Carey, then lost 5-2 to Nedohin and counted two four-enders in a 10-5 decision over Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni in the evening draw.

Eve Muirhead (1-3) moved into the win column with a 5-4 win over winless Chelsea Carey (0-4) in the evening draw. Carey has lost three straight extra-end games.

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