Martin escapes another jam at Canada Cup
Edmonton’s Kevin Martin is scary good. He’s also, admittedly, a little lucky. How else to explain his undefeated record here at the Canada Cup of Curling, which is being presented by Richardson International. Thursday morning, Martin was about to taste defeat for the first time in a long while, as young Mike McEwen of Winnipeg steadied for a draw to the four-foot for the win. But something happened on the way to the winner’s circle. McEwen’s last brick was heavy, this after being swept furiously initially by the front end, then helped further along by third B.J. Neufeld, before his team called off the brooms and watched helplessly as Martin swept it to the back of the house to steal a point and the victory, 8-7. “We should be 0 and 3,” said Martin, matter-of-factly…and how right he is, especially after coughing up a four-spot to McEwen in the eighth end to suddenly trail, 7-6. Martin was forced to only one in the ninth end, prior to the 10th end drama. For a team currently acknowledged as the best in the world, the hard-working reigning world champions, a perfect 13-0 in the last two Briers while setting a Brier record which may never be broken, also are smart enough to never turn down any offerings from Lady Luck which fall their way. Martin is now 3-0 atop Section A. His other wins came courtesy of a late meltdown by both the Russ Howard and Brad Gushue teams yesterday, which also resulted in victories obtained by theft. In the Howard game, Martin stole a deuce in the ninth end and one in the 10th for an improbable 8-6 win. In the Gushue encounter Wednesday night, he stole a deuce in the 10th end for a 9-7 conquest. In other Thursday morning matches at the Farrell Agencies Arena in the Gallagher Centre, Toronto’s Wayne Middaugh moved to 2-1 behind Martin with a tight 7-6 win over Brad Gushue, who fell to 1-2, the same record as McEwen. Edmonton’s Kevin Koe, the defending Cup champion, took three in the 10th end to defeat winless Russ Howard of Moncton, 7-5, in the crossover game. Koe improved to 2-1 in Section B, a game behind Winnipeg’s idle Jeff Stoughton at 2-0, while Howard is now at 0-3 in Section A. In the other men’s game, Ted Appelman of Edmonton won his first, 6-4 over Winnipeg’s Kerry Burtnyk, meaning those two are now 1-2, just behind three-time Cup winner Randy Ferbey at 1-1, in Section B. In the sole women’s game, 2007 world champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna counted six in the seventh end in destroying Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ontario, 10-4. Scott improved to 2-1 in Section A, behind undefeated Halifax’s Mary-Anne Arsenault at 2-0. Amber Holland of Kronau and Marie-France Larouche of St-Romuald lead Section B, also with perfect 2-0 marks. Round robin play continues on Thursday with draws at 1:30 pm and 6:00 pm CT. The men’s and women’s teams have been seeded into two groups and play a round robin within the group plus a crossover game against a team in the other group. The top two in each group then advance to a crossover Page Playoff system, whereby the group winners meet in one game (winner to final, loser to semi-final), while the group runners-up meet in another (winner to semi-final, loser eliminated). This marks the seventh year of competition for this unique event, formerly known as the Strauss Canada Cup when contested in Kamloops, British Columbia from 2003-2008. TSN will provide live coverage of the women’s and men’s semi-finals on Saturday, March 21, followed by the women’s (8:30 am CT/10:30 am ET) and men’s (7:30 pm CT/9:30 pm ET) finals on Sunday, March 22. SaskTel Max Local on Demand is also airing all round robin draws, plus the Page Playoff games, province-wide, on a 24-hour delayed basis.