Kleibrink cruises to playoffs

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

CAMROSE — There’s only one relevant issue for the winner of the A Event final at an Alberta Scotties.

What to do with their time off until Saturday night’s playoff round.

The way Shannon Kleibrink’s Calgary crew manhandled Crystal Webster, they might want to hit the gym so at least they could get a bit of a workout.

Kleibrink’s crew was on cruise control right off the git-go in a convincing 10-4 win.

“I’m an old lady, that’s a lot of nice time off to heal things that hurt,” said Kleibrink. “We were lucky. It’s nice to know you have two lives left going into the playoff and we don’t have to fight and scratch our way through the C Event like we normally do.”

They took advantage of a series of miscues in racking up a five-banger in the first end and never looked back.

Kleibrink and third Amy Nixon form the strong back end that earned a bronze medal at the 2006 Olympics, while second Bronwen Saunders and lead Chelsey Bell round out this crew.

Kleibrink suffered a bit of an emotional letdown after losing the 2009 Olympic trials final to Cheryl Bernard and after being stung by Valerie Sweeting in the 2010 final.

“In a way, it’s surprising,” said Nixon. “It’s a nice surprise. Quite honestly, we put in a lot of work in the last four years, so it was nice to not put in a lot of work this year and still ride the wave.

“We were a bit of a broken team last year.”

So, they decided to torque their schedule back a bit and make this more of a fun year.

“We decided this was going to be our semi year off, so we’ve hardly played and we haven’t travelled out of the province of Alberta,” said Kleibrink, who qualified by grabbing the Alberta Tour spot.

“We’re just kinda winging it. We don’t expect to win, but we believe we can. Literally, we were lucky because they made a spot for us in the (Lloydminster) spiel. We won it and that’s how we got here.”

Now, a team that was winding down from an Olympic trials disappointment is two wins away from giving Klebrink her fourth Alberta title, which she previously won in 1993, 2004 and 2008. To come into this event ranked No. 4 in Canada even with their curtailed schedule has to say something about the team’s ability and muscle memory.

“It’s not a big Olympic year and we weren’t sure we were going to do this for another four years,” said Kleibrink. “We literally did not get on a plane to curl, which is really unusual for us. We usually go to Nova Scotia and Brantford and all over.

“It was a laid-back year. Maybe that’s the way to do it.”

Webster’s playdowns win streak was snapped at six games and she’ll face Cheryl Bernard in one of the B Event semifinals at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

The other semi will ensure at least one Edmonton team makes the 6:30 p.m. final when Jessie Kaufman takes on Heather Nedohin.

“We need to maintain the same momentum and composure and keep the ball rolling from us,” said Nedohin, who fell short after mounting a strong comeback in a morning loss to Kleibrink.


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