Casting out the demons

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:11 PM ET

INNISFAIL -- It was something that used to be chiselled in granite somewhere: "Randy Ferbey Doesn't Lose Finals." Then, when you least expected it, it happened. Up 8-4 heading into the eighth end at the 2004 Brier in Saskatoon, the Ferbey Four finally gagged on the big game.

Over a span of four provincial championships, three Briers and two world championships, they'd won every final they'd played.

And then, with more than a million people sitting in front of their television sets watching what they thought was a countdown to a coronation, the greatest run in curling history came undone.

Today, Ferbey's back in a final again. And the question is if they'll be haunted here by what happened to them in the Brier final last year, or more motivated than ever.

Scoring a come-from-behind 6-5 win over Edmonton's Jamie King here yesterday, Ferbey advanced to the final of the provincial curling championships for the fifth consecutive year here yesterday.

Today's final will be a rematch against the same King rink which bounced back to win the semi-final 7-5 over Red Deer's Rob Armitage last night.

Ferbey defeated King in the provincial final two years ago to advance to the Halifax Brier.

But, all year Ferbey, Dave Nedohin, Scott Pfeifer and Marcel Rocque have had to live with that '04 Brier final loss, a loss which cost them a four-in-a-row run to equal the record of four over five years by the legendary Ernie Richardson rink.

PROVIDED BACKDROP

It was that run which provided the backdrop as they went into the provincial curling final for the past few years. But not now. Now that run is done and it's a different deal.

"Everything we've done in the past doesn't matter,'' said Dave Nedohin, Ferbey's last-rock thrower, who curled 97% to anchor the win yesterday and win the matchup against Blake MacDonald, the world's greatest curler that nobody knows.

MacDonald, King's last-rock thrower, made circus shots on three consecutive ends to turn a 3-0 Ferbey lead into a 4-3 King lead.

"What happens in the next game is what we'll remember for the rest of the year,'' said Nedohin, who has been haunted by the memory of his massive misses on the eighth and 10th ends of a Brier final they had won.

A DIFFERENT YEAR

"This year is different than any other year because the Brier is in Edmonton. Now we have one win to get there. We're really motivated by that.

"But this year we're not the defending Canadian and world champions. We're just another rink in the playdowns.''

What happened last year in Saskatoon is behind them.

"It hurt,'' he said.

"But we've come back here this year and shown we were able to get over that. We could have let it eat us up all summer, but we didn't.''

And now it's final jeopardy again.

"We always get geared up for a final. When we get to the final, we can see the pot at the end of the rainbow and just have to have it,'' said Scott Pfeifer, who threw 95%.

Rocque was 98%. Ferbey threw 90%. All four won their position matchups, Ferbey won his big-time against King's 65%.

"We believe we have a huge advantage in finals due to experience,'' said Ferbey.

"Today, we didn't score a point for an hour and a half. But we stayed patient and calm. Our experience showed today. Most teams would have collapsed.

"What happened to us last year in the Brier final, we see as a glitch, a blip.''

Last year, Ferbey didn't have the hammer in the final.

They can't remember the last time at the provincial curling championships or the Brier when they lost having last rock. They'll have it today.

"It's huge,'' said Ferbey.

"We're not going to be nervous. We'll go hard after them in the first end.''

So is ''Ferbey Doesn't Lose Finals'' still chiselled in granite somewhere or not?

"I'd hate to play us,'' Ferbey said.


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