Ontario’s Glenn Howard, a one-time winner and four-time runner-up as skip, has qualified for the championship game of the Tim Hortons Brier.
His Coldwater-based foursome breezed through a one-sided playoff game Friday night at the Credit Union Centre, taking a 4-0 lead after three ends and finishing with a 9-3 victory over Manitoba’s Rob Fowler. The game ended after eight ends.
“I love the way we’re playing,’’ said Howard. “We’re going to bring our A game to Sunday night.’’
Howard — who replaced his retired third Richard Hart with Wayne Middaugh during the offseason while keeping front-enders Brent Laing and Craig Savill — won the 2007 Canadian men’s curling championship, plus he lost finals in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011. Howard also won two Canadian championships and lost three finals as third on a rink skipped by his older brother, Russ Howard.
“We’re going to talk about the positives and think about where we’re going,’’ said Glenn Howard.
Ontario placed first in the round-robin portion of this event with a 10-1 record.
Manitoba drops into a sudden-death semifinal Saturday night against the winner of an afternoon playoff matchup featuring 2010 champion Kevin Koe, representing Alberta, against his younger brother Jamie Koe, who led his Northwest/Yukon Territories team to its first playoff berth.
“My mom was in tears, wondering who to cheer for,’’ said Jamie Koe. “I think everyone in our family is hoping for a good game and whoever gets an opportunity to make the last shot, makes it.’’
Manitoba had been among the hottest teams coming into the playoffs, having won four straight games to place second with an 8-3 record, but Fowler was plagued by some early misses.
“We’ve got two wins to get where we want to go,’’ said Fowler.
The semi-final winner plays Ontario in the Brier final on Sunday evening.
A third-place game is slated for Sunday morning.