The 81st Tim Hortons Brier has trumpeted itself as a “shore thing.”

But if a sure thing exists, it’s Glenn Howard.

It’s an apt label for the 12-time Brier veteran and three-time champion through six days of action at the Metro Centre, as the Ontario skip from Coldwater completed the round robin on Thursday night with a perfect 11-0 record after a narrow 7-6 victory over Alberta’s Kevin Koe.

Howard will face Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs in the 1-2 Page playoff game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and will advance to Sunday’s final with a win and to Saturday’s semifinal with a loss.

“It feels great,” the 47-year-old said.

“What I liked the best is, we started a little slow, but we’re just getting better and better. My guys are making everything and it’s just a great feeling from a confidence perspective for all four of us.”

It’s the third straight year a team has gone undefeated through the round robin, with Alberta’s Kevin Martin parlaying that into a national title the past two years.

Jacobs, the youngest skip at the Brier at age 24, is the surprise of the week.

He wasn’t even born the last time Northern Ontario won the Brier in 1985 yet he has led his Sault Ste. Marie foursome to the region’s first playoff spot in 17 years.

“We wanted to represent Northern Ontario as well as we could and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that so far,” Jacobs said.

Howard, whose lone Brier win as a skip came in 2007, beat Jacobs 9-4 on opening day, but called him “unflappable” and said he’s “making a ton of shots.”

“We’re got our hands full,” he said.

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