Briers battle of the brothers goes to Ontarios Glenn Howard

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CALGARY - Howard versus Howard fell far short of a thriller at the Tim Hortons Brier, although Russ provided some fireworks and joined Glenn in some fun to end it.
Younger brother Glenn skipped Ontario to an easy 7-2 win over Russ's New Brunswick rink Tuesday at the Canadian men's curling championship.
It was the first time the former teammates met at the Canadian men's curling championship and it was a highly anticipated matchup because of their respective curling pedigrees.
Russ, 53, won world championships in 1987 and 1993 with Glenn as his third and went onto win Olympic gold playing second for Brad Gushue in 2006. Glenn, 46, skipped his own team to national and world titles two years ago and Ontario, a co-favourite, to win the Brier again.
While the brothers had faced each other in bonspiels, they'd never squared off at a national championship.
Tennis matches between sisters Venus and Serena Williams often have a strange dynamic because the two feel conflicted about facing each other. Glenn felt similar emotions as Ontario took a commanding lead.
''To be honest, it felt strange playing that game,'' Glenn said. ''I've never had a comfortable feeling playing on the other side against Russ because it was 17 years we played together.
''In a perfect world, I would have liked to have won on the last shot.''
The battle of the Howards wasn't a classic in terms of execution. New Brunswick struggled mightily at the start as Ontario took a 3-0 lead in the first end.
Russ tried to wick off his own stone to the button, but rolled too far and gave up a steal of three in the fifth to fall behind 7-1. The veteran skip was so disgusted at falling behind that he slammed his broom hard on the ice and it flew apart.
''The last thing you want to do is swear on TV, so that was the best option,'' Russ said.
Russ re-assembled his broom during the fifth-end break. Broom swinging and water-bottle throwing can bring a fine from the Canadian Curling Association ranging from $150 to $500, with the money going to the Sandra Schmirler Foundation.
CCA director of operations Warren Hansen said a fine was possible and if so, the New Brunswick skip would be notified with a letter either later Tuesday or on Wednesday.
Ontario's victory pushed it to 6-0 with a game remaining at night.
Kevin Martin's Alberta team dominated both games Tuesday to get to 7-0. The defending champs outscored their opposition 19-6 and played just 12 ends for the day.
Their 11-4 thumping of P.E.I.'s Rod MacDonald was Martin's 20th straight win going back to last year's Brier in Winnipeg.
''Guys are just making everything they need to,'' Martin said. ''No complaints for sure. We're getting off to good starts and that's key.''
New Brunswick rebounded with a 5-4 win over Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton to get to 4-3. Stoughton's Winnipeg team dropped into a tie a 4-2 with Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Quebec's Jean-Michel Menard was 3-4 followed by Nova Scotia's Mark Dacey, P.E.I.'s MacDonald and B.C.'s Sean Geall all at 2-4. Saskatchewan's Joel Jordison was 2-5. Jamie Koe of Yukon/Northwest Territories and Northern Ontario's Mike Jakubo were 1-5.
With the game out of reach for New Brunswick, the Howard brothers injected some entertainment into the eighth end. Glenn called the shot and held the broom on Russ's final throw. Glenn even joined New Brunswick sweepers to bring the stone into the house before both teams shook hands.
''That was a cool moment,'' Russ Howard said. ''There's a lot of memories when he's holding the broom.''
The two brothers embraced after the game. Russ had recovered some of his good humour by then, but was disappointed not to have made a more memorable game of it.
''It was frustrating because we were good enough to scare them for sure,'' Russ said. ''It was special playing him, but as a competitor it wasn't much fun.''

Organizations: Canadian Curling Association, Sandra Schmirler Foundation, Martin's

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Ontario, CALGARY Howards Winnipeg Alberta Manitoba Newfoundland and Labrador Quebec Nova Scotia Saskatchewan Northern Ontario

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