Howard picks up win over Schwaller at Players’ Championship
TORONTO — Are they Team Glenn Howard or Team Scott Howard?
With Glenn on the mend with a knee injury, his son Scott has moved up from third to skip the Penetanguishene, Ont., squad this week in the Princess Auto Players’ Championship. Wayne Middaugh, who was already at the event coaching Team Hasselborg, got the call off the bench to rejoin Team Howard to throw third stones.
Team Howard grabbed their first victory of the tournament defeating Switzerland’s Team Yannick Schwaller 7-4 during Draw 7 action Wednesday at Mattamy Athletic Centre.
“It’s a tough field so any win out here is awesome,” Scott Howard said. “I played the Grand Slam up in (North Bay) skipping, which was a lot of fun, but like I said, any win out here is awesome.
“The boys played well in front of me and it was nice to have Wayne back in the lineup. He played amazingly. The first one’s in the books, so off to tomorrow.”
That improved Team Howard’s record to 1-1 in the B Event of the triple knockout preliminary round while Team Schwaller (0-2) fell into the C Event and must win Thursday to avoid early elimination.
Although Glenn is on the road to recovery, Scott said his dad’s knee isn’t doing too great.
“The knee’s a little sore,” Scott Howard said. “Hopefully, we can get a nice summer here, get lots of rest and hopefully move forward. We have the same lineup for next year, so time will tell.”
The triple knockout consists of three brackets: A, B and C. Teams must win three games in order to qualify for the playoffs. Each loss drops a team to a lower bracket until they lose three games and are out of the tournament. Two A teams (3-0 records), three B teams (3-1 records) and three C teams (3-2 records) advance to the quarterfinals.
Elsewhere, Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., also remained in the B brackets following a 10-3 victory over Saskatoon’s Team Colton Flasch (0-2).
Trailing by one, Gushue (1-1) scored five in the fifth end and stole three in the sixth to get into the win column.
“It was a pretty tight game until the fifth end there,” Team Gushue second Brett Gallant said. “We just got a little opportunity and Brad made a beauty run double for five. That changed the game for us. We were playing pretty good, but we just got that one break and were able to capitalize on it.”
Team Gushue arrived at the Princess Auto Players’ Championship straight from the world men’s curling championship in Las Vegas where they earned silver medals this past Sunday. Forget about pitstops to refuel, there’s no rest for the world’s best.
“Obviously, we’re a little fatigued, just probably mentally and physically a bit,” Gallant said. “We’ve been lucky to get off of the ice in six ends in two games, well, unlucky last night (losing to Team John Epping) and luckier today on the win. We’re just trying to get rest while we can and enjoy the Players’ in Toronto.”
Italy’s Team Joel Retornaz (1-1) earned a 7-2 victory over Team Brad Jacobs (0-2) from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Scotland’s Team Ross Whyte (1-1) scored two in the seventh then stole a pair in the eighth to double up on Team Marco Hoesli (0-2) of Switzerland 8-4.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship continues with Draw 8 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
Broadcast coverage of the Princess Auto Players’ Championship begins Thursday at Noon ET / 9 a.m. PT on Sportsnet, Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).
NO TICK ZONE
Teams cannot tick guards off of the centre line while the five-rock, free guard zone is in effect. Following an infraction of the rule, the non-offending team may decide to leave the situation as is.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship is the third event of the 2021-22 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season, featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world, with a combined $350,000 purse. Winning teams earn $35,000. … The Pinty’s Cup will also be awarded to the season champions after the Princess Auto Players’ Championship. Winners of the Pinty’s Cup receive $50,000 bonuses. … Tickets are available at thegrandslamofcurling.com/tickets.