King-size third boost for rink

TODD SAELHOF, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:44 AM ET

Her first trip to an Alberta Scotties has been just dandy, thank you very much.

But it's not over yet -- not by a long shot.

"It's been good so far," said Kaitlyn Lawes, a two-time Canadian junior curling queen. "It's been a good experience here, and it's great playing with all these great curlers.

"I'm definitely taking each game step by step, but we're here to win it all."

That's just what her skip, veteran Cathy King, wants to hear from the young third.

A veteran of seven previous women's national championships, King thrives on having a team with a competitive spirit. With Lawes, a world silver and bronze medallist, the Edmonton leader gets that zealous attitude.

And that's quite the bonus from a 21-year-old, first-year women's curler who's right in the thick of things with the Saville Sports Centre foursome at the 2010 Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts hosted by the Calgary Curling Club.

"I feel like I fit in well with this team," said Lawes of the wily King crew, which includes the 50-year-old skip, 42-year-old second Raylene Rocque and 36-year-old lead Tracy Bush.

"I've bonded well with them, and I bring youth and energy to the team."

The Manitoba native also brings timely shots, says her skip. And there's no better moment than this week to bring that to the fore. In fact, the success of King, Lawes and the Edmonton rink has put them within two wins of the provincial title.

King, Lawes and Co. lost last night's semifinal 5-4 to Calgary super-curler Shannon Kleibrink.

That sends Kleibrink directly to today's final (2 p.m.), while King gets her second shot at drawing into the championship game in today's do-or-die semi against Edmonton's Valerie Sweeting (9:30 a.m.).

Whoever wins between King and Sweeting plays Kleibrink in the final for the purple heart and the right to represent Alberta at the Canadian Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Jan. 30-Feb. 7 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

If the King rink advances to the nationals, that would make it three straight years that Lawes would be contending for a Canadian crown.

She won back-to-back national junior titles the last two years.

"Kaitlyn's got a good little head on her shoulders," said King of Lawes, who auditioned for the Saville rink as a spare last year in the Canada Cup and its qualifier. "She makes a lot of shots for me, and we get along well."

In fact, Lawes reminds King of another curler she recruited straight out of juniors to play third for her in 1997.

That's fellow Edmontonian -- and pre-Scotties favourite -- Heather Nedohin.

"Heather joined us and we won Alberta three years in a row," said King, who hopes the parallels between Lawes and Nedohin draw up another provincial title.

"We won in '98 and lost the final the next year."

In last night's quarterfinal, Sweeting topped Calgary's Lesley Rogers 9-7, thanks to a four-end sixth.

Rogers and Sweeting won respective C finals yesterday afternoon -- 6-5 over Calgary's Crystal Webster and 6-3 over Nedohin -- to round out the final four at the Alberta Scotties.

Friday's 6-5 win over Calgary's Leslie Rogers in the B final pushed them into the four-team playoff round.

To reach Friday's B final, King thumped Sweeting 11-2 in a B semi. The other semi saw Rogers beat Nedohin 7-5.

TODD.SAELHOF@SUNMEDIA.CA


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