Glenn Howard is heading to the Tim Hortons Brier once again.
The Penetanguishene native captured his 17th career Ontario title defeating Wayne Tuck Jr. of Brantford 8-6 during Sunday’s Recharge with Milk Tankard final in Cobourg.
Howard, third Richard Hart, second David Mathers and lead Scott Howard will represent Ontario at the Tim Hortons Brier running March 4-12 in St. John’s, N.L.
It’ll be the third consecutive trip to the Brier for Mathers and Scott Howard. They won the Ontario championship together on Mark Kean’s team in 2015 before parting ways with Scott Howard joining his father’s squad and Mathers linking up with Adam Casey’s crew in P.E.I. Glenn Howard edged Toronto’s John Epping in the Ontario Tankard final a year ago while Mathers made it out of P.E.I. in his lone season on the island.
It was a risky decision in the first for Howard, who opened with the hammer, with one of his stones just at the top edge of the 12-foot circle and facing a counter in the house. Howard opted for a hit and stick then measured his other rock, which turned out to be just outside the rings and didn’t count.
Howard missed both of his skip stones in the third — coming up short on his first and going through the rings on his second — giving Tuck an open draw into the house for three points and a 3-1 lead.
Tuck’s last in the fourth end picked allowing Howard to capitalize with a gentle tap and roll to score a deuce and tie it 3-3.
Howard stole the lead as he sat three counters and Tuck tried to make a draw, but rubbed off and gave up two. Tuck avoided a guard and tapped for two in the seventh end to knot it back up 5-5.
Tuck fell into a hole in the eighth as his first skip stone picked and he faced six with his second, which was only able to take out one and sit for fourth shot. Howard looked to draw in with his last but came up short to “only” score the trio and pull back ahead 8-5.
Picks continued to play a factor with Tuck able to draw for just a single in the ninth. With nowhere to hide in the 10th, Tuck looked to simply put his stone in the rings but it too picked and came up short to bring out handshakes.
Earlier, Tuck trailed by five points after four and rallied with steals in the final three ends to upset Epping 9-7 in the morning semifinal.
After giving up a steal in the first, Epping jumped out to a 6-1 lead with a three-ender in the second followed by swiping two in the third when Tuck jammed his last and stealing another point in four as Tuck rolled heavy with his final rock of the end.
That’s when everything turned around for Tuck as he got back into the game in the fifth with an open draw for three to cut into the deficit. The teams alternated singles in six and seven as Epping remained ahead by two at 7-5.
Epping looked to make a double for two points in the eighth, but jammed to give up a steal and his last in the ninth picked to concede another point to tie it 7-7 heading into the final frame.
Facing two counters, Epping’s last shot was just a little wide off the path to the shot stone and went through the house as Tuck stole the spot in the final.
Epping, who finished runner-up at the past two provincials, was running hot through the round robin posting an 8-1 record to clinch the No. 1 spot in the playoffs. Howard finished second in the standings at 6-3 and defeated Epping 10-6 in the 1-2 Page playoff Saturday afternoon by stealing five points over the final two ends.
Tuck stole a point in the 10th to edge Scott Bailey of Dundas 8-7 to take the 3-4 Page playoff Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, Casey is heading to his sixth consecutive Tim Hortons Brier following an 11-3 rout over Steve Laycock in the SaskTel Tankard final.
Casey is just the fifth player to win three different provincial championships.
The Charlottetown native skipped his home province squad of P.E.I. at the past two Briers and competed at the previous three for Newfoundland and Labrador as a member of Team Brad Gushue. Casey joined Shaun Meachem’s Regina-based rink this season at second before moving up to throw fourth stones and call the game.
2017 TIM HORTONS BRIER FIELD
|New Brunswick||Feb. 8-12|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||Brad Gushue|
|Northern Ontario||Feb. 8-12|
|Nova Scotia||Jamie Murphy|
|Northwest Territories||Jamie Koe|
Note: Nova Scotia, Nunavut, P.E.I. and Yukon will play in a pre-qualifying tournament.