EDMONTON - CAMROSE — Advantage, Kleibrink.
Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink moved one step closer to her fourth Alberta women’s curling title last night with a 9-8 extra-end victory over fellow Calgarian Cheryl Bernard in the A-B winner’s game.
The win earned Kleibrink a bye into today’s 2 p.m. final.
Bernard can get a rematch if her team triumphs in the 9 a.m. semifinal against Heather Nedohin, who beat Dana Ferguson 8-4 in a battle of Edmonton rinks in the C winner’s game.
So far, Kleibrink has been unstoppable, even though Bernard gave her a bit of a scare when the Olympic silver medallist laid down a four-ender in eight to add some drama to what had been a runaway.
It was much more than a minor victory for Kleibrink, who snapped an eight-game losing streak against Bernard, including the 2009 Olympic Trials final.
“We tried really had to hand it back, though, I’ll tell ya,” said Kleibrink. “We felt really good about nine out of 10 of those ends.”
This is the position Kleibrink was in last year, with a bye to the final, eventually being upset by Val Sweeting.
“I must say we’re kind of surprised to be where we are, but happy about it,” said Kleibrink. “We’ve hardly done anything this year.
“We’ll sleep in, but we’ll watch for sure, because we want to see what the ice is doing.
“We’re still playing really loose. We didn’t come in expecting it was do-or-die to win, so it’s a nice feeling.”
Bernard, who had her win streak stopped at three games, fell just short in her comeback after roaring back from a 7-4 deficit.
“The first five ends sucked,” said Bernard.
“We got outplayed, killed. But it was nice to get a four- ender in eight. Then it was a good game, back and forth. We should have had that shot in the 10th (for the winning pair). It was close, really close.”
After losing to Kleibrink in the A semi and Bernard on a measure in the B final, Nedohin bounced back by winning both her Saturday games.
First, she drew the lid on her last rock in a 6-5 win over Renee Sonnenberg, then was in no danger in her win over Ferguson.
“It was a good Saturday,” said Nedohin. “We had a nail-biter this morning and it felt real good to have the inch go our way.
“We had a great Saturday; I’m looking forward to a better Sunday.”
The memory of her last-rock measure loss to Bernard in the B final is still fresh, but Nedohin is confident her team can compete.
“We can contend with either of the southern teams,” said Nedohin. “They’re great teams. If it has to be another measure, hopefully it goes to our advantage this time.”
EXTRA ENDS: Official paid attendance for Saturday night’s first playoff round was 1,338, more than half the arena’s capacity.