Team Glenn Howard rose to the challenge of winning the Nufloors Penticton Curling Classic without their skip on Monday.
Scott Howard threw last stones for the three-player side in a 5-3 victory over Team John Shuster at the Penticton Curling Club.
Howard broke a tie with a three in the seventh end and his American opponents couldn't match it in the eighth.
"Huge win for us," said Glenn Howard, who played last week until a nagging knee injury forced him out of the lineup on Saturday.
His son Scott stepped up in his absence to guide the team to a 7-6 win over Aaron Sluchinski in the quarterfinals Sunday and a 10-4 rout of Brendan Bottcher in the semifinals.
In the final, Howard put early pressure on against the Shuster side, skipped by Chris Plys with John Shuster not available due to a conflicting mixed doubles event.
Plys was forced to draw against three in the second end for a 1-0 lead. Howard made a tap for two in the fourth end - with Tim March on the broom and Dave Mathers calling line - for a 2-1 lead.
The Canadians were light on a draw to the back button in the fifth end that could have really put the pressure on the Americans. Plys made a hit for one to tie the game.
After a sixth-end blank, Howard made a takeout to score three and Plys could only manage a single in the eighth.
"Super proud of Scott, Dave and Tim as they stepped up when I couldn't play anymore after Game 4," Howard said.
"They played as a threesome and rhymed off five wins against some of the best teams in the world. They were unbelievably confident and played to win each game.
"Massive win as well as this secures us a spot in the provincials in January."
In the semifinal earlier Monday, Scott Howard scored five in the fifth end against Bottcher - currently No. 1 in the Canadian rankings - and the teams shook hands.
Shuster's side qualified with an 8-4 win over Winnipeg's Matt Dunstone, who had to win four games on Sunday to reach the final four.
The 30-team event featured a total purse of $100,000. Team Howard earned $20,000 and Team Shuster took home $15,000.
Howard's team, based in Penetanguishene, Ont., entered play ranked 47th in the world. The squad struggled over the first couple months of the season but has picked up its play in recent weeks.
In late October, Howard reached the semifinals at the Soo Curlers Fall Classic presented by Kioti Tractors, falling to world No. 1 Joel Retornaz of Italy. A semifinal loss to John Epping followed a month later at the Stu Sells Living Waters Collingwood Classic.
Howard's side was in top form in Penticton, winning eight of nine games overall - the lone loss an early 5-4 decision against Reid Carruthers - before closing with six straight victories for its first title of the season.
All games were featured on www.curlingzone.com and replay links remain available.