James Grattan's New Brunswick rink is making some noise after a
quiet start, going 2-0 on the opening day at the Tim Hortons Brier
curling championship in Halifax.
Grattan jumped out to an early lead in the second draw against
Northwest Territories/Yukon skip Jamie Koe, scoring three in the first
end en route to a 10-3 victory.
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"I love the underdog role," New Brunswick third Steven Howard said.
"The boys are playing great. James is making everything and it's just
an honour to be out here with them."
Looking down on the ice, Russ Howard, who holds the record for the
most Brier appearances with 14, said his son's rink was pretty solid
for a team that doesn't play much.
"You don't see them on the tour. They're definitely under the
radar," the elder Howard said, who had to step back from competitive
play this year because of commitments as a broadcast analyst.
"But they've got all the talent in the world. They got three in the first end both games."
Earlier in the day, Grattan forced Ian Fitzner LeBlanc's Nova Scotia rink to shake hands in the ninth with an 8-6 win.
Ontario's Glenn Howard put Serge Reid's Quebec foursome away with three in the eighth end to win 8-3.
The Ontario skip laughed when told he was surrounded by family, noting his son was also in the stands.
"It's absolutely surreal to think the Howards are watching and
playing and commentating. It's a really neat feeling," he said of his
12th Brier appearance.
Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton, a two-time Brier winner, dropped his
second game to Northern Ontario's Brad Jacobs 8-5 after beating B.C.
8-7 in an extra-end nail-biter earlier in the day.
In other second-draw action, Saskatchewan's Darrell McKee edged P.E.I.'s Rod MacDonald 7-6.