Kean claims 1st career Ontario Tankard title

Team Kean (Anil Mungal).

Mark Kean held off John Epping to win 7-6 and capture his first career Recharge with Milk Ontario Tankard title Sunday in Dorchester, Ont.

The Fenelon Falls-based rink of Kean, Mathew Camm, David Mathers and Scott Howard will now represent Ontario at the Tim Hortons Brier.

Kean held shot stone in the eighth and angle raised another in with his last rock to count two and grab a 6-5 advantage. Epping faced three in the ninth and just made it with his final stone to get one and tie it but gave up the hammer coming home.

The Toronto native attempted a triple raise with his last throw in the 10th but he couldn’t nudge Kean’s shot rock far enough.

Provincial championships: Click here for final line scores

It was a rubber match for the title as Kean was victorious during the round-robin while Epping came out on top during the page 1-vs-2 game.

Epping opened with the hammer, blanked the first and landed on the milk cap with his final shot in the second to go up 1-0.

Team Epping fell into trouble in three but were happy to hold Kean to a deuce. They bounced back in the fourth splitting the rings to sit two. Epping hit and rolled with his final rock to count three and retake the lead 4-2 when the shooter stopped just on the edge of the house.

After Team Kean got two in the fifth to tie it, Epping drew to the button for one in six to make it 5-4 but Kean applied the pressure late to edge his provincial rival.

Mathers and Howard won the 2012 Players’ Championship on Team Epping while the trio of Travis Fanset, Patrick Janssen and Tim March previously played with Kean before joining Epping late last season.

Howard is the son of 15-time Ontario champion Glenn Howard, who did not play in the tankard for the first time since 2003 after his team missed out on qualifying through the Challenge Round.

Earlier Sunday, Kean scored four in the first and stayed in control to win 8-4 in eight ends over Team Peter Corner in the semifinal.

Kean jumped out early tapping back Corner’s stone to earn a big four-ender in the opening end.

Wayne Middaugh, skipping for Team Corner, made the takeout in the second but only one of his rocks stuck around and he had to settle for a point.

Team Kean took one in the third to reclaim the four-point advantage 5-1. Middaugh blanked the fourth end to retain the hammer for five. Kean couldn’t eliminate Middaugh’s stone biting the back of the 12-foot circle and Middaugh made a hit and roll to earn a deuce and cut the deficit in half 5-3.

Kean bopped out Middaugh’s shot stone on the button to hit and stick and count two in the sixth. Middaugh was held to a single in seventh, Kean matched in eight to stay in front by four and the two rinks shook hands.

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