Johnson skips straight to final

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:16 PM ET

The sirens are going and the lights are flashing.

A determined Mark Johnson earned the bye into today's final of the Kia Cup with a 5-3 win over Kevin Martin in last night's pool winner's game.

"I've never been there before,'' said Johnson. "I've been in a few semis, but never in a final.''

Johnson has lost just once in six starts this week and has given notice he's the team to beat.

A four-time national police champion, Johnson needs one more win to get to his first Brier.

While John Morris and Kevin Martin battle it out in this morning's 9 a.m. semifinal, Johnson can sit back and get ready for the 2 p.m. finale.

"We've definitely been playing well,'' said Johnson, who has now beaten both Randy Ferbey and now Martin this week. "You have to absolutely perfect against these guys - or as close to perfect as you can get.''

Although the soft-spoken Johnson is not as well known as the two skips who have dominated Alberta curling for the past 15 years, he has a chance to make a name for himself today.

"It'll be a very interesting semi and a very intersting final,'' said Johnson. "I just hope we can play as well as we have so far.''

Johnson qualified for this year's provincial as the top-rated team in the Alberta Curling Federation tour for the second straight year.

"I first dreamed about the Brier when Danny Fink was practising at the old Hillcrest Curling Club back in about 1970,'' said Johnson. "The Brier was in Edmonton and the teams were practising there. I was so impressed, I've dreamt about being in the Brier since that day.''

Martin's third Don Walchuk will have a hard time getting a hate-on for the likeable Johnson if Martin is lucky enough to get into the final.

"How do you not like Mark Johnson,'' said Walchuk. "When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, you hate just about everybody else you're playing.

"Mark's been trying for years.He's been running into the likes of Pat Ryan, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin for years. He's in now and has a chance. I'm not going to lie down for him, but if there's anybody I'd like to see in it, it would be him.''


Videos

Photos