A rematch of the women’s world championship and a battle between the week’s best two men’s teams will be on tap when the Players’ Championship moves to the Sunday finals in Toronto.
Glenn Howard, who came in with a perfect record, defeated Brad Jacobs 6-3 in seven ends to face Mike McEwen in the finals.
McEwen beat Jeff Stoughton, 5-2, in the other semi-final. The Winnipeg native’s only loss this week came against Howard on Friday.
“Payback time,” said McEwen, jokingly. “Glenn’s obviously played well this week and if we both show up tomorrow it should be a tight game.”
Howard knows their match against McEwen will be similar to the one they played earlier – or even harder.
“McEwen’s had a great year, one of the best teams in the world today and we know we have our hands full,” said the four time Brier and World Champion.
Consistency has been the key to success for the boys from Coldwater, Ont. all week according to Howard.
“I’m really pleased with how my guys have been making everything,” he said. “If one guy misses, the next guy comes up with a big shot.
“We didn’t really have back to back misses and when you don’t do that, good things happen.”
After the disappointment at this year’s Brier – losing in the semi-finals – the 50-year-old is thrilled with how they’re finishing off the curling season.
“We had three to four weeks off after the Brier and it’s tough to get back up, but we did,” said Howard.
As for McEwen, if they can pull out a victory Sunday, it would the highlight of the team’s young career.
“Other than winning a national championship, this (Players’ Championship) is the biggest event you can win,” said the skip.
With the loss to Howard, Jacobs and the Brier champs from Sault Ste. Marie failed to gain enough points to qualify for an Olympic trial spot next month.
Kevin Martin of Alberta finished off a disappointing week by losing to defending champ John Epping 7-3 in a tiebreaker on Saturday morning. Epping went on to lose against McEwen in the quarters.
Women’s World Championship rematch
In one of the best games of the tournament, the world champions from Scotland, led by Eve Muirhead, stormed back from a 5-2 deficit to defeat Stefanie Lawton of Saskatchewan,6-5 in an extra end.
Muirhead took one in the seventh, then stole two in the eighth and stole another in the extra end to secure a dramatic spot in the finals.
In the other semi, the Swedish squad lead by Margaretha Sigfridsson took care of Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones by winning 8-4 in just six ends.
They took three points in both the third and fifth ends.
Not only will the women’s final feature two European teams, but it will also be a rematch of the World Championship final from lost month, a game Muirhead won.
Christina Bertrup, the Swedish second, was hoping to face Eve Muirhead in the finals in hopes to give some payback to the Scottish rink.
“We actually talked about it being fun to play Muirhead in the final,” she Bertrup.
She says it shows the talent is not only in Canada, but overseas.
“I think it’s really fun to see five European women teams (at the Players’ Championship) and if you look at the men’s side there is two, so I think the women’s teams in Europe are really good,” said Bertrup.
Scotties champ Rachel Homan ended her fabulous year with a 6-5 loss to Jones in the quarters.
With the defeat, the Ontario rink was unable to capture the $100,000 bonus purse for sweeping all four Grand Slam events this season.