HALIFAX — Two wins and family bragging rights. Not a bad day for Glenn Howard and his Ontario rink at the Tim Hortons Brier.
Ontario solidified its position atop the Brier standings with a 5-0 record after three days of play with wins over New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on Monday.
Howard, a three time Brier winner, will bring some swagger to the next family get together. New Brunswick’s foursome features third Steven Howard, Glenn’s nephew.
“We were all jokes. I called him old,” said Steven Howard of the pre-game banter with his uncle.
“We really drive to push each other but today I just didn’t perform very well.”
New Brunswick (2-3) kept it close until the eighth end when skip James Grattan tried for a double takeout but clipped a guard, allowing Ontario to score three.
“Never ever dreamed it would go that way,” Glen Howard said. “I was thinking I’d have to draw to the pin . . . that I was going for one.
“You just never know how it’s going to happen. It came out of nowhere.”
Howard had an easier time against Nova Scotia’s Ian Fitzner LeBlanc, scoring some easy doubles in a 9-3 win.
Alberta’s Kevin Koe sits at 4-1 after losing to B.C.’s Jeff Richard in the early draw. But he rebounded later Monday for a 9-5 win against Saskatchewan’s Darrell McKee.
“It was definitely good to come back after that loss,” said Koe. “You don’t want to lose two in one day. It’s just deflating.”
Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador were also able to creep up the board with wins Monday to post identical 4-1 records.
Newfoundland skip Brad Gushue routed Nova Scotia 10-3 and then beat Rod MacDonald’s P.E.I. rink 7-3.
“It was a good day with two wins, a good building block going into tomorrow,” he said of Tuesday’s games with New Brunswick and B.C.
“There are still a lot of tough teams out there.”
Manitoba only had one draw on Monday.
“Nice to only have to play one. We’ve got a lot of games and wins left to get so we’ll just keep plugging along,” said skip Jeff Stoughton after clipping Quebec 6-3.
Howard next plays P.E.I. and Saskatchewan before facing Manitoba and Newfoundland on Wednesday.
He said his crew was getting stronger but he didn’t want to get ahead of himself.
“It’s that old cliche. It’s the next game. You put as many wins under your belt as you can and get yourself to the weekend,” he said.
In the late draw, Quebec was able to jump to 3-2 with a dramatic last rock shot by skip Serge Reid to down B.C. 8-7.
The dark horse in this tournament, Reid took advantage of Richard’s poor attempt to set up a guard that fell well short of the four foot and left him a lane to draw for two in the 10th end.
“We’re a good team and we’re able to play against everyone here. They don’t know us. That’s an advantage,” Reid said.