Edmonton’s Kevin Martin and his Saville Sports Centre team of third John Morris, second Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert showed what kind of championship mettle they’re made of by taking the men’s final of the Canada Cup, 8-5 over rival Randy Ferbey, Sunday night at the Farrell Agencies Arena in the Gallagher Centre.
Down and almost out after giving up a four-ender in the third, Martin’s undefeated Brier crew rallied to tie the game at the fifth end break, then took control for good in the seventh.
Martin’s team earned $25,000 for the win, plus $3,200 for their four round robin wins, for a total of $28,200, in finishing with an overall record of 6-2. It’s the third Canada Cup win for Martin, who also won the 2005 and 2006 renewals in Kamloops, British Columbia.
The final started innocently enough between the two Section winners. Martin counted one with hammer in the first, before Ferbey blanked the second end.
Ferbey, a six-time Brier, four-time world and three-time Canada Cup winner, then appeared to blow the game wide open in the third, counting four when Martin wrecked on a guard, leaving fourth rock tosser David Nedohin a chance for five on a split, before settling for four and a 4-1 lead.
But Martin responded, taking a deuce in the fourth, then turning what appeared to be a possible three-point end for Ferbey into a steal with a beautiful hit and roll in the fifth. That left Nedohin with a tough draw to the button, which came up a tad light.
The game was now suddenly tied at four. Ferbey was forced to take one in the sixth, before Martin made a quiet hit for two in the seventh end to once again take the lead, 6-5. Another steal, this time a deuce in the eighth end, all but put the game away for the four-time Brier winner and reigning world champion.
“We’ve lost three of these finals, too,” reminded Martin. “But Yorkton did a heckuva job. The place was packed at 8:30 in the morning. The Patch was packed. It was really well put on.
“I just wasn’t making any shots early on (tonight). We gave up a four, almost a five…but we regrouped. When we got here (after their unbeaten 13-0 performance at the Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary) we did not play well. We should have been 0-3 and out of this thing. But we got a little lucky, hung around, got some sleep and started to play better.
On the game-changer, Martin said, “That big steal in five changed the momentum of the game. If they get a deuce, all the momentum is back on their side. But we got the momentum back, then forcing them (to one) in six really changed it in our favour.”
The Martin team has already qualified directly into the 2009 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials, December 6-13 in Edmonton, Alberta, which will determine Canada’s representatives for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, by virtue of its wins in the 2007 Players’ Championship, 2008 Tim Hortons Brier and 2008 world men’s.
To date, the only other men’s team to qualify for the Trials is 2007 world champion Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ontario. Two more teams to earn berths directly into the Trials will be confirmed by April 30, 2009.
Martin’s team will next represent Canada at the upcoming Ford world men’s curling championship, April 4-12 in Moncton, New Brunswick, seeking a second consecutive world title.
Ferbey received $15,000 for finishing second, plus another $3,200 for his four round robin wins, for a total of $18,200. His team has already qualified for the pre-Trials competition in Prince George, British Columbia, November 10-14, which will determine four other men’s teams (from the 12 competing) to advance to the eight-team Trials field.
“The week was okay. Obviously we played well to get to the final,” said Ferbey, who had finished first in Section B, then defeated Martin in the A1-B1 game Saturday morning to advance to the final.
“I was a little disappointed in the last half of this game. We definitely had control early in the game, at least for the first hour and a half. After that, something just happened. We didn’t play that well after that, they forced us to make a lot of shots and we just came up short.
“The steal (in the fifth) was huge. We were looking at getting two or three but Kevin made a great shot and our draw just came up a couple of inches light.”
Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton finished third in the Canada Cup, presented by Richardson International, earning $13,200, while Toronto’s Wayne Middaugh was fourth and received $7,400.
The total attendance for the five-day Canada Cup was 27,188.