Ontario's Howard gets to Brier final
Defeats Manitoba's Fowler 9-3
The Brier final is familiar territory for Glenn Howard. It's not often been successful territory.
In 10 previous trips to the national championship game, Howard has won three.
He'll play in his 11th final Sunday.
"I'm proud to get to 11," Howard said Friday. "I would like to have won a lot more than that. You can't win unless you get to the finals.
"I want to win this one bad like we did all the others."
His Ontario team dominated Manitoba's Rob Fowler 9-3 in Friday's playoff game between the top two seeds to earn a direct trip to Sunday's final. Fowler shook hands after eight ends.
Fowler must win Saturday's semifinal to earn a rematch. He faces the winner of the playoff Alberta's Kevin Koe and younger brother Jamie of Yukon and Northwest Territories.
"We got beat down, but we'll get up off the mat and we'll be here for the fight tomorrow night," Fowler said. "We've got two wins to get to where we want to go."
Howard and his front end Brent Laing and Craig Savill will play in their sixth final at the Tim Horton's Brier in seven years.
They're 1-4 since 2006, winning both the Canadian and world championships in 2007. Third Wayne Middaugh, who skipped Ontario a national title in 1998, joined the team prior to this season.
Glenn also made it to five Brier finals playing third for brother Russ. They won in 1987, when Middaugh was their second, and again in 1993.
"It's quite an amazing feat to get to that many," Howard said. "Hopefully the 11th will be good to us and we'll get our fourth win."
His Coldwater Curling Club foursome persevered through an exhausting preliminary round to finish first at 10-1. Their one loss was in an extra end — one of five extra-end games Ontario played — to the Territories.
Savill also suffered through a vicious stomach ailment through much of the round robin. He required daily intravenous treatment for the first several days of the tournament.
But Ontario seems to be hitting their stride in time for the final. In their last four games, including a 6-3 win over Alberta's Koe to conclude the round robin, Howard and company controlled those games.
"I like the way we're playing," Howard said. "I hope we bring that Sunday night."
Ontario curled 94 per cent as a team to Manitoba's 83 in the 1-2 playoff game.
Manitoba finished second in the preliminary round at 8-3. Alberta was third at 8-3 and the Territories fourth at 7-4.
After a delicate tap for two in the first end, Howard stole two in the third, scored three in the fifth and another two in the seventh for a commanding 9-2 lead. Fowler was unable to capitalize on the few openings Ontario left them.
"The sheet was faster and straight tonight," Fowler said. "That's a common thing late in an event like this, but until you see it and feel it it's sometimes hard for the throwers to adjust.
"If you were to look at the two or three little misses we had early in the game that cost on the scoreboard, it was all shots that ran a little bit straighter and were thrown a little bit heavy. Tonight we got a feel for it and we'll be able to use that information tomorrow night to come back, play our 'A' game and get the 'W' we need."
Manitoba third Allan Lyburn came out of the game after seven ends. Fowler says he wanted to give alternate William Lyburn, Allan's brother, playing time.
"Normally we would have quit after seven ends, but we had to play eight so a good opportunity to get Willy out there and he nailed down two pretty good shots," Fowler said.