Martin leads Canada into curling final
Canada's Kevin Martin is hoping the third time's the charm as he earned a rematch with Scotland's David Murdoch by edging Switzerland to advance to Sunday's final of the world men's curling championship in Moncton, N.B.
The defending champion played an uncharacteristically defensive game against Ralph Stoeckli's rink in Saturday's semifinal, eventually winning 6-5.
After being held to a single point in the first end, Martin stole a point in the second before being blanked in the fourth and fifth ends.
Things finally broke open for the Canadian skip in the sixth.
Martin made a hit to score three points and took control with a 5-1 lead, but Stoeckli battled back with two in the eighth and a steal of one in the ninth and 10th ends.
It's the second straight year that Martin lost the one-versus-two playoff game to Murdoch and had to enter the final via the back door.
"We came back with a little better game tonight which is good," said Martin.
"We didn't put up much of a fight in the last two games against him. Come up with a game something like this and we should do OK."
Martin maintains the two losses to Murdoch aren't a problem as his prepares for a second straight final against Scotland. Instead, this is the game he has been waiting for.
"Exactly. You can't win this thing unless you get to Sunday night and so we've done what we can and we're there," smiled Martin.
"So let's roll the dice and we'll see."
Stoeckli saw his seven-game winning streak come to an end and will play in Sunday's bronze-medal game against Thomas Ulsrud of Norway.
"I don't really care if I lose 10-0 or 6-5. A loss is a loss," shrugged Stoeckli.
"I think [Martin] didn't feel too comfortable out there at the beginning. It took him five ends and then suddenly he turned on the heater after the fifth-end break and they were all over us in the sixth end."
Murdoch, who won the world championship in 2006 and finished runner-up to Martin last year, is looking forward to Sunday.
"We're delighted. We're in the final. You can't look at it as a disadvantage because we're on a high and the fact we've beaten Canada twice puts us on an extreme high," he said.
Murdoch, who predicted he would meet Canada a third time in the final, added that he doubts that Martin will play as defensively.
"I think those guys will come out and play hard in the first end. They want to score on the board in the first end and they want to post a two in the first couple of ends."
After having played both Canada and Scotland in the world championships, Stoeckli paused for only a second when asked if he had a prediction on Sunday's final.
"That's tough," he said.
"Murdoch. Because he beat him twice and knows how to beat him and if he's going to play the same style, I think Murdoch has a really good chance to beat him a third time."
There were 4,195 fans watching the game bringing the total for the week to 69,376.