Koe captures Canada Cup

Skip Kevin Koe (left) and second Carter Rycroft discuss thier options at the Strauss Canada Cup on...

Skip Kevin Koe (left) and second Carter Rycroft discuss thier options at the Strauss Canada Cup on Sunday. SUN MEDIA/Michael Burns

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

So much for the knock on Kevin Koe and the "other" curling team from Edmonton.

What have they ever won?

Until yesterday, the answer was nothing.

Today, the answer is the Strauss Canada Cup.

And the team of Nolan Thiessen, Carter Rycroft Koe and last-rock-throwing Blake MacDonald beat Kevin Martin in the final to do it.

"They finally finished one off," said Martin on the phone from Kamloops after Koe scored a 6-5 win in an all-Edmonton final of the event which has been held in Kamloops for six years with an Edmonton rink winning it every single time: Randy Ferbey three times, Martin twice and now Koe.

"Good for them. They earned that," said Martin, who lost last year's final to Ferbey.

Koe looked to be headed to the Brier last year when MacDonald gassed two eight-foot draws to lose to Martin in the final two ends at the provincial playoffs in Drayton Valley. Koe also lost all three games in this year's provincials to Ferbey, who lost all three of his to Martin.

"It's a tough city in a tough province. What can you say? Our record isn't good against those guys," said Koe of having the other two to set the bar for him and then to bar him front major successes until now.

"To beat Kevin in a Canada Cup final makes it extra good. We lost three Slam event finals to Kevin and that provincial final," he added of the rink that has elevated itself to No. 3 in the world rankings behind only Glenn Howard and Martin this year, but have failed again and again and again against Martin and Ferbey.

'HAD OUR CHANCES'

"We've had our chances, that's for sure. It feels good to finally win one. And this was a big one to win," he said of the Canada Cup, which along with the Brier, the World Championships and the Players Championship are qualifiers for the Olympic Trials.

Howard has two and now Martin, Ferbey and Koe one each. Three gets you directly to the eight team trials without having to qualify through a 12-team pre-trials event.

While Koe curled 99% in the final, he was happiest for the much-maligned MacDonald who out-curled Martin 86% to 80% throwing last rocks and didn't gag on the game.

"That was great for him. He's struggled in a couple of finals. That's very satisfying for him," said Koe.

Martin has been to four of the six Canada Cup finals but said he never made it there quite like he did this year.

"This one was the most different," said the man who will skip Alberta in a record ninth Brier starting Saturday in Winnipeg. "We were 1-3 to start the tournament off. When you're 1-3 you're usually out."

FOUR-WAY TIE

Ironically it was a Ferbey win over Pat Simmons of Saskatchewan in the one pool crossover game which left a four-way tie for teams in Martin's pool with 2-3 records and a massive tie-breaker situation while Ferbey, who was 3-2, headed home.

Martin had to win five straight to make it to the final.

Koe went wire-to-wire going 4-1 in the round robin, beating Martin in one of those games and defeated Olympic gold medal winner Brad Gushue 7-5 in the 1-1 Page playoff system game to advance to the final.

"The hammer turned out to be the difference. We just couldn't wrestle it away," said Martin, who was curling with Kevin Park at third while his normal third John Morris rested a sprained thumb received in a bar fight involving himself and a few firefighter friends in Airdrie.

Morris will be back for the Brier along with fifth man Adam Enright, a front end player from Mark Johnson's Edmonton rink.

Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon scored a 7-4 win over Kelly Scott of Kelowna in the women's final to win her first Olympic Trials qualifying tournament.

"There was a lot going on in this game," said Scott, who had previously won two qualifiers and needed this one to take the direct route to the trials. Lawton out-curled her 91% to 72% with last rocks.

Both Koe and Lawton won $28,200 in prize money, as well as byes into next year's Canada Cup in Yorkton and berths to play for Team North America in next year's Continental Cup in Camrose.


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