Win breaks rink's heart

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:36 AM ET

KAMLOOPS, B.C. -- Anne Merklinger had the shot made. But front end Audrey Reddick and Susan Froud stopped sweeping at the top of the house.

The rock picked and Calgary's Shannon Kleibrink stole a point to win 6-5 last night and claim the final berth into the women's Strauss Canada Cup this morning.

No one on the Kleibrink foursome felt good about the win, coming off the ice with tear-stained cheeks.

"We feel so bad for them," the 36-year-old skip said. "They had it perfect. If they were cleaning it, they had it. It was on the pin."

Kleibrink has a 9:30 a.m. start against Regina's Jan Betker, who beat Merklinger 8-7 in an extra end earlier yesterday in the Page 1 playoff game.

Merklinger goes home to Ottawa without a berth in the Olympic trials in Halifax Dec. 3-11.

Betker automatically gets one since Kleibrink earned hers as the 2003-04 Canadian Team Ranking System leader.

The Calgary Winter Club foursome didn't have their best game of the week against Merklinger.

In fact, their team accuracy dropped from 84% in the round-robin to 79.

Third Amy Nixon said she, Kleibrink, second Glenys Bakker and lead Christine Keshen should be on their way home.

Kleibrink had to single the eighth and then steal one in the ninth and 10th to get the win.

Merklinger racked up a three in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead.

Merklinger was shooting the lights out but, Nixon admitted, a little dumb luck may have come the Kleibrink way.

"It's so hard to see a team that deserves to win have the shot and lose it," Nixon said.

"We didn't deserve it. She had the shot made.

"We're here for the money and to get back into Canada Cup next year. They were just here for the berth. For us, it's not that same absolute gut feeling.

"They came here for one reason and one reason only and they didn't get it."

Betker, third Sherry Linton, second Joan McCusker and lead Marcia Gudereit didn't make an appearance at Sport Mart Place to watch the game.

After running the table through the round-robin and the playoffs, they needed a rest.

"One more game and then we're done," Betker said, sighing. "Win or lose. It's been a stressful week."

RIVALS TO CLASH: Kevin Martin played dumb yesterday, when asked how he intends to prepare for a Page 1 playoff game against arch-rival Randy Ferbey at the Strauss Canada Cup.

"Oh, are we playing Randy?" Martin asked, shortly after beating Winnipeg's Kerry Burtnyk 5-3 to finish the round-robin 5-0.

Martin and Ferbey -- both of Edmonton -- will square off at 1:30 p.m. for a spot in tomorrow's final at Sport Mart Place.

Neither one has been shy about his dislike for the other.

Ferbey, who lost 6-5 to Ontario's Mike Harris in the morning draw, wouldn't bite.

But Martin admitted he has respect for the six-time Brier champ and his team: Vice Dave Nedohin, second Scott Pfeifer and lead Marcel Rocque.

"Randy and I don't get along very well and that's just the way it is," Martin said, shrugging. "We didn't when we played together and we still don't. That's OK.

"There's nothing wrong with two teams in the same city that are both doing well. There's bound to be a rivalry."

It's an all-Winnipeg battle in the Page 2 game.

Pat Stoughton will face Kerry Burtnyk, who knocked off Calgary's John Morris 7-6 in last night's tiebreaker.

Morris, third Kevin Koe, second Marc Kennedy and lead Paul Moffatt gave Burtnyk three in the second and then a steal of two in the fourth. Morris caught up but Burtnyk held on for the win.

Said Morris: "We just didn't come to play."


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