Harris, Howard take top spots

London Free Press staff

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

With one draw left in the round-robin at the Ontario men's curling championship in Owen Sound, this much is certain -- Mike Harris and Glenn Howard are in the first vs. second Page playoff game for a spot in the final. After that, it's anyone's guess as five teams -- including Ilderton's Kirk Ziola -- remain in contention for the other two playoff spots.

Harris, the 1998 Olympic silver medallist out of Oakville, leads at 7-1 after edging Al Hutchinson of Owen Sound Blue Water 5-4 in the eighth draw last night, while Howard, out of Coldwater, improved to 6-2 by drubbing Jim Guthmann of Huntley 9-4.

Ironically, Harris and Howard meet in the ninth draw at 1:30 p.m. today.

Peter Corner of Thornhill sits alone in third at 5-3, while Ziola is in a logjam at 4-4 with Ed Werenich of Avonlea, three-time runner-up Phil Daniel of Kingsville and Hutchinson. Ziola and Werenich meet this afternoon, with the loser out.

In today's other ninth-round games, Corner plays Ross, Daniel meets Guthmann and Hutchinson plays Cochrane. Depending on the results, there could be as many as two rounds of tiebreakers -- or none at all.

Ziola kept his hopes alive with two crucial wins yesterday.

Last night, he and his rink of Wayne Tuck, Darcy Tomchick and Jake Higgs scored deuces in the second, fourth and seventh ends and stole two in the eighth to beat Ross 8-4. In the afternoon, Ziola stole three in the first and counted four in the third en route to a 10-2 win over Hutchinson in six ends.

In the other eighth-round games, Corner took one in the 10th to edge Cochrane 7-6 while Werenich stole one in the second and third and counted three in the ninth to beat Daniel 9-4 (Daniel's fourth straight loss).

In the other afternoon matches, Harris counted two in the ninth and stole one in the 10th to beat Daniel 8-5, Howard took one in the 10th with last rock to edge Corner 4-3, Werenich overcame a 6-1 deficit after four ends, stealing two in the ninth and one in the 10th to beat Guthmann 9-7, and Cochrane scored four in the seventh to beat Ross 8-2.


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