Martin's goal within grasp

Kevin Martin remained undefeated after three draws, stomping two-time world champ Pat Ryan of...

Kevin Martin remained undefeated after three draws, stomping two-time world champ Pat Ryan of Kelowna 8-2 and dispatching Mark Dacey of Halifax 6-5 with a deuce in the 10th yesterday. (Sun Media File/David Bloom)

ANGELA MacISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

KAMLOOPS -- The carrot is dangling in front of Kevin Martin's face.

Is it a gold medal at the Olympics?

Well, yes, but first things first, said the skip.

"We'd love to get back and finish that off," said Martin, who lost 6-5 to Norway's Paal Trulsen at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. "We can't worry about that. Until we get back to the trials, we don't need to worry about anything."

Trials for the 2006 Turin Games take place in Halifax Dec. 3-11. Martin holds a good lead -- almost 25 points -- over Ontario's Glenn Howard in the Canadian Team Ranking System standings. Howard is idle until next week when he joins the top-ranked Martin for the World Curling Tour's PharmAssist Players Championship in St. John's, Nfld.

A good showing here at the Strauss Canada Cup could sew that berth up.

Then it's a matter of getting through the loaded field at trials to ensure a return to the Olympics.

"That's the goal," Martin said. "We're getting close. It's been our goal since the last Olympics to get back to trials. We certainly have it in our sights now."

Martin remained undefeated after three draws, stomping two-time world champ Pat Ryan of Kelowna 8-2 and dispatching Mark Dacey of Halifax 6-5 with a deuce in the 10th yesterday.

Martin and his arch-rival, Edmonton's Randy Ferbey, are the lone undefeated rinks on the men's side. Ferbey beat Newfoundland's Brad Gushu 8-6 in the late draw, while Martin schooled Ryan 8-2 in seven ends.

Calgary's John Morris lost his first last night, falling 7-6 to Winnipeg's Kerry Burtnyk. After digging out of a 4-0 hole, Morris took control but his last rock picked, leaving Burtnyk the winning draw for two.

In the morning draw, Morris beat Mike Harris, the 1998 Olympic silver medallist, 11-2 in six ends. The big win was somewhat of a surprise, said Morris.

"We don't usually do well in morning games because our brains aren't really in gear yet and we're just going through the motions," said Morris.

ROYAL WIN: Calgary's Shannon Kleibrink knocked Team Canada's Colleen Jones from the undefeated pedestal yesterday, winning 7-6 with a deuce in the 10th.

Kleibrink slipped around a high centre guard and nudged Jones's shot rock out of harm's way.

"I thought she made a really good shot to be where she was but she got a lot of finish on her rock," said Kleibrink, who leads Pool A at 2-1 with Jones, Ottawa's Anne Merklinger and Halifax's Heather Smith-Dacey.

"I thought it was a really high guard but if I gave it a bit more weight and the same line, we could do it."

Kleibrink already has her Olympic trials berth but fellow Calgarian Cheryl Bernard might be seeing her chance slip away.

Needing a handful of points to overtake Edmonton's Cathy King in the standings, Bernard needs to finish third or better but lost 8-6 to Merklinger yesterday and fell to 0-3.

She hasn't given up hope.

"We're going to keep plugging away," Bernard said. "We've had lots of weekends where we lost our first two and came back.

"This is a little different, being a round-robin. We've gotta play better."


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