Epping steals pair of wins to open Ontario Tankard

John Epping at the 2015 Canadian Open in Yorkton, Sask. (Anil Mungal)

No hammer? No problem for John Epping.

The Toronto native rode the steal train to jump out to a 2-0 start on the opening day of the Ontario Recharge with Milk Tankard in Brantford.

Team Epping, the 2015 Canadian Open champions, never held the hammer once during either of their games Monday stealing all of their points to earn an 8-1 victory over Ian Dickie from Newmarket in Draw 1 and a 6-0 shutout versus Pat Ferris of Grimsby in Draw 2.

Ontario Tankard: Scores | Standings

Glenn Howard, of Penetanguishene, also kicked off the Tankard with a 2-0 record. The four-time world champion topped Ottawa’s Jake Higgs 7-5 and rolled to an 8-3 win over Toronto’s Mike Harris.

Harris, the 1998 Nagano Olympics silver medallist, beat Dayna Deruelle of Brampton 5-4 earlier Monday.

Mark Bice (2-0) of Sarnia stole three in the final end to slip past Joe Frans of Ingersoll 6-3 and took down hometown favourite Wayne Tuck of Brantford 8-2.

Frans (1-1) bounced back stealing singles in the final two ends to beat Higgs 7-5 in the evening draw.

Greg Balsdon (2-0), the 2014 Ontario winner, scored a point in the final end to edge Tuck 6-5 and clawed back to top Dickie 9-4.

Balsdon’s team from Kingston gave up a steal of three in the first to Dickie and charged back with a single in the second followed by back-to-back steals in three and four to knot it up 3-3.

Dickie settled for one in five to pull back ahead, but it was all Balsdon from there scoring a deuce in the sixth to snatch the lead, stealing two in seven and one in eight to build a four-point advantage. Another steal in nine brought out the handshakes as Dickie fell to a 0-2 record.

NOTES: The Recharge with Milk Tankard continues Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET. Watch live on Rogers TV Sports+. … The winner of the event will represent Ontario at the Tim Hortons Brier next month in Ottawa.

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