Team Howard moves to 4-0 at Olympic trials

EDMONTON — Glenn Howard hasn’t exactly been dominant at the Canadian Olympic curling trials, but his opponents haven’t found a way to beat him yet.

EDMONTON — Glenn Howard hasn’t exactly been dominant at the Canadian Olympic curling trials, but his opponents haven’t found a way to beat him yet.

“We’ve still got room for improvement there’s no doubt about it. We’re not stellar,” admitted Howard after his rink improved to 4-0 at the tournament with a pair of wins Tuesday.

Howard knocked off 25-year-old Jason Gunnlaugson of Beausejour, Man., 6-4 in the morning draw, then the skip form Coldwater, Ont., earned a 7-5 victory over Pat Simmons of Davidson, Sask., in the evening.

“Truth be known coming in here I would have loved to be 3-1. That was my first gut feeling so 4-0 — it doesn’t get any better then that and we played very well tonight,” said Howard. “We’re right where we want to be and we’re playing better. That’s the main thing.”

Edmonton’s Kevin Martin won a key battle with Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton picking up three in the fourth end and another three in the eighth in an 8-4 victory. Stoughton had two picks — one of which allowed the three ender.

“It happens to everybody but especially his first one more than his second,” said Martin. “As soon as it picked he was in trouble. It was a terrible break in the eighth end — that late in the game there’s no time to recover.”

Martin, along with fellow Edmonton skips Randy Ferbey and Kevin Koe, improved to 3-1. Martin beat Toronto’s Wayne Middaugh in the morning game.

“We feel pretty good about it. The earlier game was our best game – this one we played a little bit better. It bodes well I guess going on,” Martin said.

Stoughton was still shaking his head after the dramatic turn of events.

“It’s tough when you get a couple of bad breaks go against you there. It’s disappointing because we were sitting really good that end,” said Stoughton, now sitting with a 2-2 record.

“It hurts now but hopefully it won’t matter if we can reel off a few more wins.”

In other late draw matches, Koe beat Middaugh 11-4 while Ferbey hammered Gunnlaugson 9-4.

Ferbey, who wasn’t happy with his team’s play in the first three games, was in better spirits Tuesday evening.

“Probably that last seven ends was the best we’ve played here so far. We’ve got our weight down and it looked good on us. The team played quite well again,” said Ferbey, who plays Martin in a key matchup on Wednesday.

For Middaugh, at 0-4, the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Curling Trials, presented by Monsanto, is likely over.

“At 3-4? No chance. I don’t think it’s even possible. It’s too bad. It hurts a bit,” Middaugh said.

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