McEwen beats Howard in extra end for BDO title

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:25 PM ET

Manitoba’s Mike McEwen is proving to be the best curling squad in the country this season.

McEwen edged Ontario’s former world champion Glenn Howard 5-4 in an extra end of the Grand Slam’s BDO Canadian Open in Oshawa, Ont., on Sunday afternoon to earn a total of $25,000.

It was not only the second Slam final McEwen has won this season but the cash extended his lead atop the World Curling Tour money list to distance himself from the likes of Alberta’s Olympic gold medallist Kevin Martin (second), fellow Manitoban Jeff Stoughton (third) and Alberta’s reigning world champ Kevin Koe (fourth).

Not only that but McEwen has a stranglehold on the $50,000 bonus the Slam offers to its top money winner — with the Players’ Championship to come — and is assured of a berth in the 2013 pre-Olympic trials qualifying event.

In the Slam final, McEwen almost blew a 4-1 lead after six ends as Howard clawed back to force an extra end. But McEwen made a clutch shot with the hammer to secure the victory in that extra frame.

“That was awesome,” McEwen told reporters in Oshawa. “That was a great game. Of course, I had a chance to win it in the eighth and I missed an easy shot. I guess I had to make the hero shot in the extra.”

Because the game being televised by CBC went into an extra end, it cut into the start of the NHL All-Star Game.

“As it should,” Howard said. “It’s an all-star game, it’s not really that big a deal. This is a big deal.”

McEwen also beat Stoughton 6-4 in a semifinal Saturday and has had the multiple-Manitoba champ’s number all year. It was the fourth time Stoughton failed to beat McEwen with money on the line and it will be curious to see which team will be deemed No. 1 when Curl Manitoba unveils the top seeds for next month’s Safeway Championship this Thursday.

The conventional thinking is to give it to the defending champ but Stoughton has changed half his foursome. But it has improved since last year when he downed McEwen in the Manitoba final.

McEwen, however, has taken a back seat to no one on the pebble this year and has earned top billing.

JONES WINS: While McEwen was earning all that cash, his partner, Dawn Askin, was helping Jennifer Jones win the Karuizawa International Curling Classic in Japan on Sunday. Jones beat a littleknown Japanese team 8-4 in the final.

Jones, who is the defending Canadian champ, used the event as a tune-up for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Charlottetown, P.E.I., next month.

Korea defeated Canada’s Ted Appelman 7-4 in the men’s final.

IN THE SWIM: The University of Manitoba Bisons Braedon Taylor won bronze medals in the 100- and 50-metre breaststroke events at the Canada West Swin Championship in Vancouver on the weekend.

Taylor’s teammate, Riley Pickerl also earned the CIS standard in the 1,500m freestyle, finishing eighth.

Both the Manitoba men’s and women’s teams finished sixth, improving on the points totals from last year.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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