Bernard hitting her stride

TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

This time, the draw to the button came without keys to a vehicle.

But nevertheless, Cheryl Bernard's perfect shot to the pin yesterday afternoon might be a key point in Alberta's run to the 2009 Scotties Tournament of Hearts title in Victoria, B.C.

Saturday's Hot Shots -- and subsequent Ford Element -- winner was clutch when she needed to be again, putting her last rock on the button in the extra end of an 8-7, Draw-7 victory over Quebec's Marie-France Larouche.

The Calgary skip followed that up by stealing one in the 10th end to beat B.C.'s Marla Mallett 4-3.

Bernard and Mallett sport identical 4-1 records.

"The real key here is going to be never to give up," said Bernard, after the afternoon back-and-forth match saw both teams struggle to find their shots, mostly because the ice in certain spots kept them guessing at the curl and the weight of the rocks.

"It was just one of those days," Bernard continued.

"It's difficult to read the ice here. It's difficult to put the broom down in the right place (when calling shots).

"We've gotta get it figured out."

Fortunately for Bernard, she figured it out in time last night, executing the perfect draw weight to find the pin in the extra end.

The triumph pushed Alberta to 3-1 in the Scotties standings behind only undefeated frontrunners B.C. and Team Canada heading into last night's draw at the Canadian women's curling championship.

And Alberta, with Bernard at skip, Susan O'Connor at third, Carolyn Darbyshire at second and Cori Bartel at lead, beat B.C. in Draw 8.

"It's everybody's week out here (with no winless teams), so I think we're in a good spot," said Bernard before last night's game.

Extra ends

The Bantam District A playdown was held last weekend in Carstairs, where nine rinks qualified for the Southerns, March 27-29 at the Springbank Curling Club. The qualifying teams were Laine Foshaug (Didsbury), Eric Jensen (Red Deer), Jade Kirk (Carstairs), Tyler Lautner (Calgary Curling), Matthew Romero (Acadia Recreation Complex), Emily Johnson (Sundre), Brett Goebel (Garrison), Spencer Higgs (Calgary Winter) and Brian Larson (Hanna).

Last rock

The mixed Southerns start Friday at the Garrison Curling Club, where 15 teams, including 2008 national champ Dean Ross (Calgary Curling), are vying for three provincial spots ... The Masters provincials begin tomorrow in High River, where the Southern Alberta Curling Association will be represented by Will Sanders (Inglewood), Lloyd Heller (Medicine Hat) and Raymond Hagel (North Hill) on the men's side and Linda Wagner (Calgary Curling) and Arthena Fleming (Calgary Winter) in the three-team women's event.


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