Howard wins Brier

Ontario skip Glenn Howard celebrates their win over Alberta during the gold medal game at the...

Ontario skip Glenn Howard celebrates their win over Alberta during the gold medal game at the Canadian Men's Curling Championships in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan March 11, 2012. REUTERS/David Stobbe

Terry Jones, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:39 PM ET

SASKATOON – It was nothing like the Tim Hortons Brier classic final Kevin Koe won with his memorable shot in an extra end between the two at the 2010 Halifax Brier.

But that was just fine with Ontario's Glenn Howard, thank you very much.

Howard, despite playing a record five extra end games in this Brier and losing only one game all week, wanted nothing to do with drama, excitement, action or theatrics. All he wanted to do was win.

And while it did end up going down to the last rock and a 7-6 score which made it look like a classic in the books, Howard was in control all the way.

It was the textbook score two, give up one, score two, give up one, score two, give up one (Koe had to draw against five on the seventh end to get the one) game.

It was so one-sided the Alberta fans known as the Sociables held up signs saying “What would Russ do?" as the Koe foursome discussed strategy at the hog line in the eighth end.

They then offered options.

“Draw?”

Some applause.

“Guard?”

More applause.

“Go to the Patch.”

Overwhelming applause.

While Howard only managed to score one in the eighth end and with a finesse shot to do it, at that point the RCMP brought the Tankard into the arena and it wouldn't have surprised anybody if Howard's name had already been engraved on it.

Koe scored two on the ninth to make it 7-5 and, if nothing else, forced Howard to throw his last rock to win it 7-6.

It was a forgettable Brier final. But when you've lost Brier finals to Koe (2010), Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton (2011), Alberta's Kevin Martin (2008) and Quebec's Jean-Michel Menard (2006), not to mention the Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials final to Martin (2009), a boring, one-sided, dud of a Brier final is beautiful.

“To have that Canadian maple leaf on your back, there is no better feeling to have,” said Howard, who will wear it at the world curling championships in Basel, Switzerland March 31-April 8.

Suddenly Howard's history looks a lot better.

The 49-year-old who established the Brier record for most games played at 182 in equaling brother Russ Howard's record 14 appearances, has finally won his second as a skip to go with two he won as old Hurry Hard's third.

Wayne Middaugh, who joined Howard replacing Richard Hart and ended up winning his third Brier and becoming the first player ever to win one as a skip, one as a third and one as a second.

It's the second Brier win for second Brent Laing and lead Craig Savill and a first for Glenn's son Scott who was the team's fifth man this year.

It was the 10th Brier championship for Ontario. Only Manitoba with 27 and Alberta with 25 now have more.

Howard won $224,000 in funding from Sport Canada over a two-year period, Sport Canada and Own The Podium funding, cresting money, etc.

But there was more involved than that.

While Edmonton's Kevin Martin has already won the first qualifying spot for the Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials to the Sochi 2014 Olympics, getting to the final was worth 30,000 Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) points each for Howard and Koe.

“That's huge with the amount of time we put into this,” said Howard of moving to 239,520 points with Winnipeg's Mike McEwan back at 230,810.

With a successful world championship where 45,000 more points are available for first, 35,000 for second, 30,000 for third and 20,000 for fourth, Howard should easily win the season and be the first team to join Martin qualified for the December 2009 trials.

On the line for Alberta was a chance to complete the Canadian curling grand slam. With Heather Nedohin winning the Scotties tournament of Hearts and Brendan Bottcher of Sherwood Park and Jocelyn Peterman of Red Deer winning the Canadian juniors.

Nedohin, also of Sherwood Park but curling out of Edmonton's Saville Centre begins play in the world championships Saturday in Lethbridge.

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca

 


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