Bernard earns trip to Vancouver

Cheryl Bernard celebrates after winning the Canadian Olympic curling trials women's final....

Cheryl Bernard celebrates after winning the Canadian Olympic curling trials women's final. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 1:41 PM ET

EDMONTON -- This time, it was Cheryl Bernard's turn to win the big one.

Bernard beat Shannon Kleibrink 7-6 in an all-Calgary final last night to claim her first trip to the Olympics.

Bernard, along with third Susan O'Connor, second Carolyn Darbyshire-McRory and lead Cori Bartel needed to be patient in the back-and-forth contest.

It came down to one shot for all the marbles. The team sealed the deal when Bernard was left with a draw to the full eight-foot.

It looked like the rock might be hot, but it slowed down just in time near the back of the rings.

"You know what -- adrenalin," said Bernard about what was happening before she delivered her last rock. "Just take it easy. You're going to have a little extra. I was a little worried about half-way down until it curled. Once it curled, I knew it would be OK.

"I think we're ready. Any team from Canada would be ready."

Third Susan O'Connor was a bit concerned as the rock was coming down the ice.

"Yeah, the fact that they (sweepers) were kinda not wanting to clean it much had me a bit nervous," said O'Connor. "I could hear Shannon behind me say, 'Oh, I think it's OK.' And I was like I hope you're right, Shannon. Once it hit top four, I knew it would be good.

"I think she must have felt out of her hand it was all there. She did it all on her own, that's for sure. She didn't need any help."

A broom went down on the ice and Bernard quickly screamed 'whoa.'

"She threw that pretty independently," said Bartel. "There was a lot of praying going on, for sure. It stopped just in time. I think I had my eyes closed the last few steps down the ice."

Kleibrink bounced back from a 2-0 deficit to score troika and a 5-4 lead.

But Bernard regained the lead with a pair in the eighth.

"They were the best team all week and they sure played great in that game," said Kleibrink, who's now 1-2 in trials finals. "They're going to be a great rep for Canada. You're not always going to win and I'm so proud of my team for hanging in as long as they did. We can't be too sad."

Grande Prairie's Kristie Moore is the team's fifth for the Olympics.

In the men's semifinal, Glenn Howard punched a ticket into today's men's final for one reason.

His team build up too big of an early lead and Jeff Stoughton was unable to claw back in a game whose drama finally unfolded in the final ends.

Howard scored an 11-6 win over Stoughton and earned a rematch against Kevin Martin, the only team that has been able to beat him this week.

"I had a really nice feeling the whole day, not like the semi of last year's Brier (a loss to Stoughton)," said Howard. "My guys played great. We had a lot of tough shots and maybe that last one (tapback for the win) was the toughest one."

This is Howard's first-ever appearance in an Olympic trials final. Howard had a 5-4 record at the 2005 trials in his first appearance as a skip.

"It's more significant that we have a crack at going," said Howard. "The bottom line is we wanted to get to Sunday and that's what we did."

A double-angle raise in the third end set up a pair that gave him a 4-1 lead to seal the deal.

"Jeff had a real tough shot, but it was makeable to split that double out of there and then I would be drawing against two," said Howard.

CON.GRIWKOWSKY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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