Howard keeps rolling

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Maybe it's his cool demeanour.

Maybe the fact he can adjust to changing conditions as good as anybody on this planet.

Whatever the reason, Glenn Howard keeps rolling along.

Oh, it's not quite at the same level as their amazing 2007 world championship run at Rexall Place.

More a quiet efficiency.

Howard improved his record to 4-0 with a pair of wins yesterday and credits his ice management.

"I'm kinda proud of the way we won the (early) game," said Howard, the event's top-rated skip at 91%. "You knew what the rocks were doing and adjust accordingly. You never, ever, ever get them the same, regardless of where you play.

"Honestly, the team that picks up on the little nuances of every rock, it makes a huge difference. It's a matter of inches."

Howard was one game up on all three pre-qualified Edmonton rinks -- Kevin Martin, Kevin Koe and Randy Ferbey -- who sit at 3-1 and will now finish their schedules against each other.

Martin had started the day as the lowest-ranked skip, but the entire lineup picked it up yesterday.

"That's the first time I can say it was our old team where there was a jump in the step, and we're excited about making the shots," said Martin.

"It's kind of what we're usually like."

Randy Ferbey kept pace with a wild 9-4 win over Jason Gunnlaugson in the nightcap.

"Those last seven ends were the best we played all week," said Ferbey, who roared back from a 3-0 deficit. "If we keep it up, that bodes well for the rest of the week."

Koe bounced back from a last-rock morning loss to Jeff Stoughton for his third convincing win, beating Wayne Middaugh 11-4.

"We're playing pretty good, even against Jeff," said Koe.

"It's nice to bounce back and get that win. We're in a good spot now, but we have to go up against the heavyweights. But we're playing solid, so I'm looking forward to it.

"What I like is not all of us are playing our best all together, so for us to get out to a 3-1 start with some room for improvement, I think we have a great chance."

On the women's side, luck is still on Cheryl Bernard's side. Bernard took advantage of a miscue to wrap up a

9-7 win over Kelly Scott with a four-ender and moves to 4-0.

"I struggled in the early ends but my team played great," said Bernard, who won the 2009 Alberta title without a loss. "They made great, great shots to keep us in the game. The last end was all perfect shots and she had a tough one. The guard (on a crash by Scott third Jeanna Schraeder) really helped us.

"I'm glad it's over. I'd just like one easy game ... not down to measures, not down to last rock. Nice way to end the day."

Shannon Kleibrink moved into a share of first at 3-1.

"We're not watching other games, so it's pretty hard to know how the other teams are playing," said the 2006 Olympic bronze medallist who faces Bernard this morning. "You have to play well or you'll get beat."

Jennifer Jones and Stefanie Lawton and are all at 2-2.

Jones has won two straight to put herself back into contention.

"Sure beats what happened in our first two games," said Jones. "Anything can happen. There's no sense giving up and not enjoying yourself."

Lawton also kept her playoff hopes alive.

"That was our best-played game so far," said Lawton, who paved her way to a 10-4 win over Amber Holland with five stolen points.

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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