Park in drive

CON GRIWKOWSKY, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

Kalynn Park walked off the ice, spotted her mom Linda and made a beeline for her. Tears flowed freely as mom and daughter hugged in a most touching, emotional moment at the women's junior provincials at the Thistle.

Park, 16, had done the near-impossible and is now one win away from a provincial title.

"The only way I could be happier is if we win it all,'' said Park, whose crew includes Megan Einarson, Sarah Horne and Carmen Einarson.

Thursday night, Park's team was 1-3 and cast in an underdog role.

Odds were against her beating more experienced skips Jodi Marthaller and Desiree Robertson in her final two round-robin games. But the curling gods were smiling on her.

After upsetting Robertson yesterday morning and heading into today's 2 p.m. final, Park and her team are riding a three-game winning streak.

"Destiny,'' said Park.

"We looked at it (Friday) night. We knew if we won, we'd be in the playoffs. The way it works, we would have been in first because we did win the Hot Shots.''

Park was one of five teams to finish with a 4-3 record.

The first tie-breaker separated Park and Robertson from the pack. Park claimed first place on the second tiebreaker, her overall win in the pre-event Hot Shots skills competition.

Robertson was awarded second place and meets Michele Smith of Edmonton's Saville Centre in the morning semi.

"I knew we had to pick it up a bit,'' said Park, understating the do-or-die situation after her 1-3 start. "We were the underdogs coming into this game. I knew if we won, everybody would look at us differently.

"Today, we knew we really had to bring our A game. It was really in our hands. We knew what we had to do, so we did it.''

Anything less and Park would have been out of the playoff picture completely.

There's a payback factor for Park if she happens to meet Robertson in today's final. Park was with the Andrea McCutcheon foursome that lost the 2003 final to Robertson.

"I've tied my personal best of being in the final,'' said Park. "Now, all I have left to do is win it.''

Snapping Robertson's four-game win streak yesterday can't hurt the young skip's confidence.

"We talked about it before the Marthaller game. We needed three W's to win the whole thing. Two down, one more to go.''

And, as a skip, the biggest game of her career.


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