Kaufman makes noise at Alberta Scotties

Jessie Kaufman makes a shot against Team Eyamie during the Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts at...

Jessie Kaufman makes a shot against Team Eyamie during the Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Leduc Recreation Centre in Leduc, Alta., Jan. 25, 2012. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI Agency)

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 AM ET

EDMONTON - Call her the Mighty Mouse that Roared.

When the Alberta Scotties kicked off, there was little expectation that Jessie Kaufman would make much noise.

But the Saville Club skip has made a huge statement that she’s not to be taken lightly.

Kaufman took advantage of a shaky outing by clubmate Heather Nedohin to score a stunning 6-4 upset win in Thursday night’s A Event final.

Riding a four-game win streak, Kaufman earned the bye into Saturday night’s A-B winner’s Page Playoff game.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” said Kaufman. “Maybe go bowling. We’ve never come out of A in any event we’ve ever played in yet.”

Kaufman, 23, got the shots she needed from her supporting cast of older sister Nicky Kaufman, Amanda-Dawn Coderre and lead Stephanie Enright.

Kaufman’s previous claim to fame was winning the 2007 Alberta juniors on Kalynn Park’s rink.

“This is pretty big,” said Kaufman. “Winning the Alberta juniors was a pretty big moment for me, but since then this is one of the biggest. Just to qualify in provincials is pretty huge. Everybody’s here to play their best, so it’s pretty huge to come out.”

Nedohin had mowed through her opposition, including a semifinal win earlier in the day against defending champion and No. 1 seed Shannon Kleibrink. Nedohin had outscored her opposition 29-9 heading into her fateful meeting.

After Kaufman’s stellar cashspiel season last year, her performances placed her well below the radar this year.

“We might have peaked a little too early last year,” Kaufman said about her early exit at the 2011 event. “We just kinda fell a little flat.”

She played a limited schedule on World Curling Tour, qualified in her last two events and struggled at the women’s northerns, qualifying out of the C Event.

“Coming out of the C Event in northerns was a good test for us, mentally and physically,” said Kaufman. “I couldn’t catch onto the ice for the first three games there. Once I caught onto the ice, we just kept rolling along.

“We brought that momentum with us here. We caught onto the ice real quickly and just played like we can.”

Her team is No. 18 on the Canadian Teams Ranking System, seventh-best in this field.

“We know how to battle back,” said Kaufman, who won in Lloydminster in late November. “We’re really finding that out this year. We came out of the C Event in Red Deer and Lloydminster and NACA. It really says once we get down there, we can still turn it around, go an a good winning streak and eventually come out.”

Obviously, something clicked once she got to Leduc.

Kaufman paved her way in to the final by beating No. 2 seed Cheryl Bernard on Wednesday night, stealing three in the 9th end for a 6-3 win.

Then, she took out 2010 Alberta champion Val Sweeting 7-4 in Thursday morning’s semifinal.

Even the way she started the final, by giving up a steal of two when her last draw went through the house, did not bode well for Kaufman.

But she got a steal of her own to regain the lead in three, then drew the button for a brilliant pair in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead at the break.

Nedohin drops down to Friday’s 2 p.m. B Event semis against Bernard. Sweeting takes on Kleibrink in the other semi and the winners meet in the B final at 6:30 p.m.

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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