Martin tops Stoughton in final

It wasn’t week to remember for Kevin Martin, but the Olympic gold medallist put it all together when it mattered most.

VERNON, B.C. — It wasn’t week to remember for Kevin Martin, but the Olympic gold medallist put it all together when it mattered most.

The Edmonton skip lost two games in the round robin, was fortunate in the semifinal and then hung on to edge Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton 5-3 to capture the Swiss Chalet National curling title Sunday.

“I’m ready for a break,” said Martin. “2010 was just an amazing year for our team, and to finish it off like that, it’s a dream.”

With the win, Martin’s team of John Morris, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert earned $24,000.

Martin was off his game much of the week but was saved numerous times by the powerful brushing of Kennedy and Hebert.

In the fourth end Sunday, Martin threw a soft in-turn and his brushers leaped into gear as the stone squeaked by a guard. Martin also threw tight on his final throw, urging his sweepers on as his rock just cleared the guard.

Martin took a 2-1 lead with a deuce in the fourth end and added a steal in the fifth. Stoughton, who beat Martin for the first time in 13 tries Friday, replied with two in the sixth and held Martin to a single in the seventh to trail 4-3.

The Winnipeg skip had a makeable triple-takeout for two points and the win in the final end but failed to convert. His squad of Mean, Reid Carruthers and Steve Gould cashed $17,000 for second place.

Martin’s rink won its semifinal over Toronto’s Wayne Middaugh on Saturday night despite a miscue on his final stone.

“I’m just drained,” said Martin. “It will be nice to just relax for a while, because we’ve got a big January up ahead. We need to get some quick rest.”