Road To The Olympic Games


Lawton, Koe win curling's Canada Cup

Saskatoon's Stefanie Lawton won the Strauss Canada Cup of Curling on Sunday, defeating defending world champion Kelly Scott, while Kevin Koe beat Kevin Martin 6-5 to take the men's title.

Saskatoon's Stefanie Lawton won the Strauss Canada Cup of Curling on Sunday afternoon, defeating defending world champion Kelly Scott 7-4.

Kevin Koe captured the men's title in Kamloops, B.C., with a 6-5 win over Kevin Martin.

As Canada Cup winners, Koe and Lawton get a chance to defend their title next year, March 18-22 in Yorkton, Sask., and get to play in the 2008 Continental Cup, Dec. 18-21 in Camrose, Alta. Both teams added $28,200 to their coffers — $25,000 as Canada Cup champion and $3,200 more for four round-robin victories.

But chief among the spoils is a berth in the 16-team pool eligible for the 2009 Olympic trials.

"It's a relief to get that, and it feels really good. We're improving with each game," Lawton said of the Olympic trial berth. "It's a new team this year and we're improving with each bonspiel we go to, so we're really happy with that."

Lawton prevailed 7-4 in the final, with the turning point a steal of three in the eighth end.

The winning team includes third Marliese Kasner, second Sherri Singler and lead Lana Vey. Kasner shot 93 per cent on the day.

"It's been a wonderful week for us," Lawton told CBC Sports. "We've curled well all week and really came out firing today.

"It's awesome to come through and win this final."

Scott struggles

Lawton kept her composure early on, coming through for one when forced to draw against two in the second end.

Scott, a Kelowna, B.C., native, hit and stuck for one in the third, but Lawton drew to the button in the fourth and stole one in the fifth.

Scott shot just 72 per cent in the game and, facing a pressure draw trailing 4-2, came up short in the eighth.

Lawton stole three, with Scott drawing for second in the ninth to make the score more respectable.

Lawton split her first two games this week, losing to Sherry Anderson, but didn't look back after beating Scott 5-3 in the sixth draw, the first of five straight wins.

She edged previously unbeaten Cheryl Bernard on Saturday to book her passage to the final.

"We were learning the ice as we [went] along and we just wanted to keep getting better with each game," she said. "I love the ice here. It's great [with] consistent curl."

Scott could have automatically qualified for next year's Olympic trials with a win on Sunday.

She struggled in a bid for a third consecutive Tournament of Hearts last week, finishing 5-6.

4th straight final for Martin

On the men's side, Koe won his first major curling championship by edging fellow Edmontonian Martin.

Koe's team includes fourth Blake MacDonald, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen.

"We played really good and Blake played great this game," Koe told Karin Larsen of CBC Sports.

"We made the big shots again today and finally in a final we played a really good game and that's something we haven't been able to do."

Martin scored two points in the ninth end to pull even before Koe and his rink secured the winning point in the 10th.

"We were in a bit of trouble there if Kevin makes the [last] shot," said Koe. "We're probably playing a really hard runback and we're a little fortunate.

"I think he was just a bit heavy."

Martin was in the final for the fourth consecutive year, but has now lost twice in a row after winning in 2005 and 2006.

Koe had lost to Glenn Howard in the Curling Masters final in late January.

With files from the Canadian Press

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