Curling can be a cruel game

CON GRIWKOWSKY, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

SYLVAN LAKE -- Curling can be a cruel game.

Sometimes, though, the curling gods have a way of evening things up.

Heather Nedohin suffered a heartbreaking loss in Friday night's B final when defending champion Shannon Kleibrink stole a pair in an extra end.

Kleibrink went on to face Cheryl Bernard in last night's A-B winners game.

Bernard remained undefeated, winning 8-5 and sending Kleibrink to a B final rematch with Nedohin in this morning's semifinal.

After yesterday afternoon's C finals, it was members of the Crystal Webster team that went home with tears in their eyes.

Nedohin fought back from an early deficit to beat Webster 7-6 with a double steal. First, she stole a point in the 10th end to tie, then stole the winning point in an extra end when Webster jammed on an attempted hit and inside roll.

"You know what, we've been lucky two times now against Crystal in extra ends," said Nedohin, who beat Webster by an identical score in the B semi with an extra-end steal.

Nedohin battled back from an early 4-1 deficit in what's becoming a trademark charge.

"Honestly, I feel for her," said Nedohin. "They outplayed us the first half of the game. You know what, we have grit. We played an amazing game (Friday vs. Kleibrink) and we're playing well. Together, we're going to grind out these game."

Nedohin followed up with a convincing 7-1 win over Leslie Rogers in last night's C winners game.

Nedohin's second three-game win streak means she's going into this morning's semifinal having won six of her last seven starts.

"Jokingly, we've been saying we're two-stepping ... two games every day, now we're ready for Sunday," said Nedohin.

"We've played on all the sheets and we've got to know all the rocks. It hasn't hurt us to play more. Physically, we've been prepared for this. It's more mental."

And they have been mentally tough as their confidence is building.

"We feel great," said Nedohin. "We're strong from front to back and we're looking forward to playing on Sunday."

Maybe the curling gods decided the Alberta Scotties would not be the same without an Edmonton-based team in the playoff round.

It's only the second time in 18 years that Cathy King has not played in a provincial and it was left up to Nedohin to carry on the tradition.

"We do have a strong representation from the north with either Cathy or Deb (Santos) or myself," said Nedohin, the 2000 champion. "Last year, it was (C winner) Tiffany Odegard. There's no one dominant quadrant within the province. The beauty of it is trying to get out."

Nedohin continues to be impressed with how strong her team is playing in front of her.

"This is Pam's (lead Appelman) first provincials and I think she's playing like an all-star," said Nedohin. "Kristie's (second Moore) game is improving every time we step out and Beth (third Iskiw) is playing outstanding. We have a strong unit right now from front to back. That's what it takes at this provincial an at any calibre.

"To me, it's unity and we're strong from front to back."

Their 6-2 record includes three wins in which the decisive point was a steal. In the C semi, there were six stolen points in a 13-5 win over Megan Kirk.

"You just want to make playoffs and from here on, you grind it out," said Nedohin. "We accomplished goal No. 1 and that was to make it to the playoffs. Now, it's like, let's grind them out."


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