Call it a streak

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

INNISFAIL -- Randy Ferbey is streaking again.

No, the world's first curling streaker, the fan who took a naked trip down Ferbey's sheet of ice at last year's provincial curling championships in Hinton, has not made an appearance here this year yet.

But the Ferbey Four is on another record run.

"After what happened to us at the Brier last year, I guess I forgot about it," said Dave Nedohin of two wins to open the Alberta Kia Cup here yesterday, which made it 29 in a row at the provincial curling championship.

Last year in Saskatoon it was 23 skidoo times two for the Ferbey rink as two of the greatest winning streaks in Canadian sport died together.

Having those two streaks stopped didn't mean Ferbey had stopped streaking.

Six on the first end. Down went James (Evil) Knievel of Manning 12-3. Down went Terry Meek of Calgary 8-5.

That made it 29 wins in a row at the provincial curling championships. And counting.

"It's almost mind-boggling when you think about it," said lead Marcel Rocque of the record. "Especially when you realize the game we lost was because of a last rock pick. It fudged up. The streak should be longer."

That was the provincial final in Stettler in 2001. The guy who beat them was Dennis Graver of Grande Prairie.

"It picked and stopped dead on the button," remembered Dave Nedohin of the shot which would have been heavy.

The Ferbey rink has now run their record to 33-1 in the last five years in a province so tough that two-time Brier champion and Olympic silver medallist Kevin Martin couldn't even get here this year.

The only team to go 13-0 in a single Brier, Ferbey, Nedohin, Scott Pfeifer and Rocque won their first eight at the Brier last year before losing to Nova Scotia Mark Dacey in the round robin. The Blue Nosers thus stopped the 23-game Brier winning streak dating back to a loss to Mark Noseworthy of Newfoundland in the 2002 Brier. Dacey would end Ferbey's record three-in-a-row run of Brier titles in the final a few days later.

Another 23-game winning streak the Albertans had going - dating back to a loss in the Edmonton zones prior to running the table at the Northern Alberta and provincial playdowns last year - went down at the same time as the 23-game Brier run.

"Streaks are fun to talk about," said Nedohin. "We've had a lot of streaks. The New England Patriots had a streak. But you have to win the last game."

Pfeifer, the second who keeps track of things historical and statistical for the rink, says a five-trip streak of getting to the Brier is the streak they're looking for here.

"There's no pressure with a winning streak. There's pressure to win our last game."

The rink with a 44-6 record in winning three Briers would love to keep the provincial record run going here, not so much to run up the record as because it would make things so much easier.

In the new Alberta Kia Cup concept with a 12-team format featuring six-team round-robin groups, if you don't run the table in your group, you could be in a ton of trouble. Finish second or third and you have to win four straight to get to the Edmonton Brier.

"Any loss in this format can cause lots of problems," said Rocque.

"You don't want to lose one," said Pfeifer. "You could go 4-1 and have to win four straight to get to the Brier."

Finish first in your group and you go to the 1-1 game against the winner of the other group. Win that and you go direct to Sunday's final.

"It's huge," said Nedohin of the two-time world champions who play John Climenhaga of Edmonton and Kurt Balderston of Sexsmith today, and Mark Johnson of Edmonton Friday.

"Finish first and you have an extra life," said Nedohin of the system which sends the loser of the 1-1 game to a semi-final.

You can play a playoff game with a net.


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