Russ Howard victorious in Ford worlds coaching debut

MONCTON, N.B. April 4, 2009 (CCA) — Russ Howard made a winning coaching debut Saturday afternoon at a steamy Moncton Coliseum to open the 2009 Ford world men’s curling championship.

The two-time Brier and world champion, who hails from Moncton, was hired to coach Switzerland’s Ralph Stoeckli, and the Swiss pulled out a 10-7 win over Scotland’s David Murdoch in the opening draw of the Ford worlds.

Switzerland scored a game-tying deuce in the 10th end to force the extra, then executed a perfect 11th end, capped by Murdoch wrecking on a guard on his final delivery.

In other Draw 1 play, John Shuster of the U.S. stole points in the sixth and seventh ends, then made a nice draw to backing with his last rock of the game for a 6-5 win over Andy Kapp of Germany.

“Getting a win always is good. We got the jitters out so that helps us gain confidence,” Shuster said. “Throwing the last rock for the win is great. I would have rather made that shot in the ninth to tell you the truth.”

Kalle Kiiskinen of Finland also needed an extra end for his victory. Kiiskinen gave up deuces in the eighth and 10th ends to Jiri Snitil of the Czech Republic, but didn’t need to deliver his last rock in the 11th when Snitil missed his final shot, giving the Finns an 8-6 victory.

In the other Draw 1 assignment, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud cracked a 10th-end deuce to knock off Denmark’s Ulrik Schmidt 7-6.

Canada’s Kevin Martin, China’s Fengchun Wang, Japan’s Yusuke Morozumi and Thomas Dufour of France all had byes, and made their ’09 Ford worlds debut later Saturday. The draw was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (all times Eastern) on TSN, but has been delayed to 8 p.m. to so that the ice could be worked on.

On Sunday, draws are scheduled for 6:30 a.m., noon and 6:30. TSN is televising the Canadian games, while coverage also is available at

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