The tight battle of two all-time greats was surprisingly determined by a big four.
B.C.'s three-time Brier champion Pat Ryan broke a 4-4 tie by cracking a four in the eighth end to beat Manitoba's two-time Brier winner Kerry Burtnyk 8-4 in the final of the inaugural Canada Cup West Bonspiel in Edmonton last night. Ryan, who learned to curl in Manitoba, earned both a trip to the 2005 Olympic trials and $14,000.
And it spoiled Burtnyk's crack at qualifying for the trials for a third straight time. At least for now. Burtnyk, who settled for $9,000, did at least qualify for the Canada Cup in March, where another trials spot will be up for grabs.
"It's disappointing," Burtnyk told Sun Media. "This (2005 trials) has been in the back of my mind since we lost that 2001 (Olympic trials) final to (Alberta's) Kevin (Martin)."
Jim Cotter, who throws last brick for Ryan, reportedly made a sensational shot in the fateful eighth.
Burtnyk had knocked off Alberta's Randy Ferbey 8-3 in one semifinal while Ryan beat Alberta's John Morris 8-2 in the other. Both Ferbey and Morris, who already have trials spots, settled for $6,000.
Ryan and Morris also earned Cup spots in Kamloops, B.C., come March. Because Ferbey is already going to the Cup as defending champ, that spot will go to Martin, the top squad on the Canadian Team Ranking System (Jan. 1-Dec. 6) among the quarter-final losers.
Burtnyk had also beaten fellow Manitoban Dave Boehmer 6-2 in a quarter-final. Boehmer took home $4,750.
On the women's side, B.C.'s Kelly Scott stole one in an extra end to nip Saskatchewan's Jan Betker 7-6 and capture the coveted trials spot. The transplanted Manitoban also won $13,000 while Betker got $8,000.
Manitoba's Karen Porritt, who lost 8-7 in an extra end to Alberta's Shannon Kleibrink 8-7 in a quarter-final, pocketed $4,750.
In the Canada Cup East spiel in Ottawa, Ontario's unknown Jo-Ann Rizzo earned a trials berth when she advanced to the final versus Ontario's Sherry Middaugh, who is already trials-bound. Rizzo nipped her 6-5 anyway.
On the men's side, Newfoundland's Brad Gushue won the trials spot by beating Ontario's Wayne Tuck 8-7 in the final.
RURAL SPOTS: Don Spriggs of Portage la Prairie won his Safeway Select rural zone spot, defeating clubmate Doug Jordan 9-7 in the B final. Springfield's Kevin Larson won his rural zone, beating Ste. Anne's Renaud Gagne 11-5 in the B final ... Hamiota's Lawrence Daniel also won a Mixed rural zone spot.