Howard, Jones on to Canada Cup of Curling finals
Glenn Howard has a date with an Olympic champion on Sunday.
Howard's Coldwater, Ont., rink defeated Winnipeg's Jeff Stoughton 9-5 on Saturday to advance to the men's final at the Canada Cup of Curling.
Howard will face Kevin Martin, who defeated him 10-8 in the round robin, in the championship game. The Edmonton skip won gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics and finished the round robin portion of the Canada Cup with a 6-0 record to earn a bye to the final.
"Who are we playing in the final? What's his name?" Howard joked after his semifinal win.
Howard jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first end against Stoughton and led 4-3 after the sixth.
The turning point came in the seventh when Howard scored three. Stoughton fought back with two of his own in the eighth to make it 7-5, but Howard sealed it with two more in the ninth and as Stoughton decided to shake hands.
"This is one of the best [games] I've thrown this year," Howard said. "I felt really good out there. You know I could see everything out there, I could visualize the shot, I was in a good place this game."
On the women's side, Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones will face Chelsea Carey in the women's final after defeating Calgary's Shannon Kleibrink 6-3 in the semifinal.
Carey's Morden, Man., rink had a bye to the final after finishing the round robin at 5-1.
After Jones took the early lead, Kleibrink fought back with one in the second. Jones added singles in the fifth and sixth ends to make it 4-1, but Kleibrink clawed back with one in the seventh.
Jones stretched her lead to 6-2 with singles in eighth and ninth and Kleibrink could only score one in the 10th.
"I thought that we made the shots when we had to in that game which is always what you have to do," Jones said.
Carey defeated Jones 8-7 in the round robin. Jones squeaked into the semifinal match with a 3-3 record, while Kleibrink and Carey both finished 5-1.
"It doesn't really matter where you finish in the round robin as long as you get that foot in the door," Jones said. "We went the hard way, now we're in and we'll try to play our best tomorrow and see what happens."
A guaranteed berth in the 2013 Olympic curling trials in Winnipeg is on the line in Sunday's finals, along with invitations to next year's Canada Cup in Moose Jaw, Sask., and the 2013 Continental Cup in Penticton, B.C.
The winners of the men's and women's finals will take home $26,000 each, while second place earns $16,000.
Stoughton and Kleibrink won $10,000 apiece for their third-place finishes.