Carruthers looks to defend Men’s Classic title
Glenn Howard, left, watches his sweepers work during Monday afternoon action at the Portage Curling Club. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)
And then there were two.
Glenn Howard and Reid Carruthers - the 2016 event champion - have emerged as finalist for the annual Men’s Classic as some of the best rinks in the world were in Portage la Prairie this weekend competing in the World Curling Tour’s Canad Inns Men’s Curling Classic.
“We couldn’t be happier with this weekend,” says skip Glenn Howard. “We’ve had a lot of adversity over the last couple of years with Wayne breaking his leg, and two or three different spares this year alone. My son is actually playing for us this year and he’s playing great and making shots. It’s so much fun.”
After three days of competition the playoff round was all locked in following play Sunday night. Howard’s Ontario rink and Carruthers’ Winnipeg-based rink were the first to qualify Saturday afternoon after going undefeated through the round robin. Howard defeated Brad Jacobs 7-4 in seven ends while Carruthers took out American John Shuster 5-3 in eight ends.
Calgary’s Kevin Koe, Winnipegger Mike McEwen and Olympic gold medallist Brad Jacobs were the next three to advance to Monday’s playoff round. Koe dropped Saskatoon’s Colton Flasch 6-5 in extra ends while McEwen won 6-3 over Toronto’s John Epping. Jacobs beat Chang-Min Kim’s Korean rink 6-2 in seven.
The final qualifiers were decided Sunday night with Shuster punching his rink’s ticket to Monday’s playoff round, advancing after defeating Epping 6-5 in extra ends. Thunder Bay’s Dylan Johnston took out Chang-Min in eight ends while Japan’s Yusuke Morozumi eliminated Flasch 8-3 in seven. Howard, McEwen, Carruthers and Koe were the four to advance to the semi final Monday afternoon thanks to strong play during their quarterfinal battles. Koe and Carruthers went head to head in the first semifinal, which Carruthers won 6-1 in seven ends. Howard defeated McEwen in the other semi 8-6 in eight ends.
“Reid and the boys are one of the top teams in the world and we’re one of the new up-and-comers,” laughs Howard. “I think it’s going to be a real great match here in Portage."