Kevin Martin vs. Randy Ferbey? Or vice-versa? How original!
Between the two of them, they’ve dominated all the previous Canada Cup finals and have won five of the six.
Heading into this morning’s Canada Cup playoff action on the men’s side of the draw, the long-time Edmonton rivals emerged as winners of the two round-robin sections on Friday and were headed for a showdown at 8:30 a.m.
“We’ve adjusted to the ice and figured it out and the last few games we’ve been getting better and better so I think we’re in a good position right now,” said Dave Nedohin, last-rock chucker for the four-time Canadian champion Ferbey unit.
The playoff sends the winner to the championship final on Sunday night and the loser to the semi-final today at 7:30 p.m.
“We played him (Martin) three times in provincials and had some good games and probably should have won one or two of them,” said Nedohin. “But he’s playing really, really well. He’s on a roll. We were there a few years ago, we know what it’s like.
“We came to the Canada Cup one time after winning the Brier and right before going to Victoria for the Worlds and kind of looked and said, ‘How fast can we get out of here’? And we won the thing. It’s just when momentum is going well for you, it’s going well for you.”
Wayne Middaugh’s Toronto outfit handed Martin his first loss in 23 games following 13 wins in the Brier, five provincial championship wins and four in this Canada Cup. Middaugh erased a 4-3 deficit with three in the seventh end and hung on to put an end to the Martin streak.
As a result, Middaugh finished his group with a 3-and-2 record and will play Jeff Stoughton of Winnipeg this morning in a sudden-death Page playoff with the winner advancing to the semi-final at 7:30 p.m.
In addition, the Middaugh win cancelled defending champion Kevin Koe’s hopes of continuing. Koe was 3-and-2 in a section in which Ferbey and Stoughton each turned in 4-and-1 records.
“You know momentum ends at some point,” said Nedohin of the Martin skein. “We are not intimidated by them by any means. And they’ve struggled this week. They’ve pulled at least three games out of the fire. So, for us, we just go play like we are and don’t worry about the opposition so much but . . . to beat them would be nice.
“It’s karma. Good things happen to you when you’re on a roll. And they (Martin) certainly are the best team in the world right now and good things are happening for them all the time.
“For us, we just have to bear down and, you know, if breaks go their way a little bit, and they might continue to, we just have to keep playing well.
“If we win, fine. If we don’t, then we’re going to have another shot at getting back to him. That’s what nice about the position we’re in.”
Mike McEwen of Winnipeg and Brad Gushue of St. John’s bit the dust with 2-3 records while Ted Appelman of Edmonton, Kerry Burtnyk of Winnipeg and the James Grattan-skipped Russ Howard entry from Oromocto, N.B., logged in at 1-4.
Grattan won his team’s only match of the piece Friday morning against Middaugh, 9-8, burying his last rock of the 10th end on the four-foot and then followed with a tapback for a winning deuce after Middaugh couldn’t get his last brick hidden.
“Actually,” said Grattan, “my first one in the first end kept us in it. I found a little hole and I thought if I missed that one the game’s over a lot quicker. But we managed to scrap for the first five ends and I thought we outplayed them the last five.”
Gushue defeated Grattan 11-8 on the Friday night shift with four in the eighth end.
In the afternoon, Ferbey ousted McEwen in a last-rock 8-7 thriller, Koe dumped Burtnyk 9-4 and Stoughton required an extra-end and a rally to subdue Appelman 9-8.
Ferbey defeated Stoughton 9-5 in the morning.
TSN will televise live the men’s semi-final at 7:30 pm CT Saturday evening and the final on Sunday evening at 7:30 pm CT/9:30 pm ET.