Canada's Howard stays unbeaten at world curling championship

The Canadian Press
4/1/2012 5:33:31 PM
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BASEL, Switzerland -- Canada's Glenn Howard scored early and often in a 9-2 blowout win over Germany's John Jahr at the world men's curling championship.

The veteran Ontario skip needed only six ends to complete the victory Sunday morning at the St. Jakobshalle. Howard improved to 3-0 later in the day with an 8-7 win over Heath McCormick of the United States.

Howard hit a draw to the four-foot in the 10th end to win it.

"You just divorce yourself from the outcome, just throw a quality curling shot and good things will happen," Howard said. "I was pleased. We played really well that game."

The American skip scored single points in the eighth and ninth ends to pull even.

"Heath McCormick put on a one-man wrecking crew highlight reel," Howard said. "He was making so many great shots. That's what happens when the opposing skip makes a ton of shots -- you have good games."

Howard said he and teammates Wayne Middaugh, Brent Laing and Craig Savill are feeling good after the opening weekend.

"I see a little more confidence as we go and that's typical of the week," he said. "You're always getting comfortable with the surroundings, you're getting comfortable with the ice.

"I see all four of us are doing that now and that just builds confidence in all of us."

Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 8-5 to remain tied with Canada for top spot after five draws of play. China, Denmark, France and Scotland are next at 2-1.

The Czechs, Germany, Norway and New Zealand are 1-2 while the Americans and host Switzerland are winless at 0-3.

In morning play, Howard stormed out to an early lead when German vice-skip Felix Schulze missed a takeout attempt and left the Canadian with an open draw to the four-foot.

"Did he deserve to be down 4-0 after the first end? Not at all," Howard said. "It was a bad break almost. He threw a good rock and it didn't curl."

Germany got on the board in the second end but Canada scored pairs in the next two ends to put the game out of reach. Canada shot an impressive 94 per cent overall while Germany managed a success rate of just 73 per cent.

Round-robin play continues through Thursday night and playoff games are scheduled for next weekend. Teams also have an opportunity to earn Olympic qualifying points for their countries at the competition.

Howard's previous world titles came in 1987, 1993 and 2007. He teamed with Laing, Savill and Richard Hart to win his last world championship.

Middaugh joined the Ontario team prior to this season after Hart's retirement.

Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton beat Scotland 6-5 in last year's world championship in Regina.

Glenn Howard (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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