January 30, 2012
Nedohin will represent Alberta at nationals
By CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency
LEDUC, ALTA. - Finally. A Nedo-win.
After striking out twice, Heather Nedohin hit the home run.
Nedohin avenged a pair of key losses at the Alberta Scotties when she came up with a formula to beat Jessie Kaufman 8-5 Sunday.
Surviving a scary semifinal win, the curling gods decided that after many frustrating years, it was finally her turn.
"We'll take whatever god it was," said Nedohin.
When she put up the centre guard with her first rock and decided to go right after Kaufman, it was a sign Nedohin would not let Kaufman off the hook like she did the night before.
"Believe me, I heard that over and over from many coaches around the room," said Nedohin, about the advice she got at her post-game appearance in the Oil Patch.
If it's true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, then Nedohin's fist-pump accentuated the moment.
It's been a dozen years between appearances at the Hearts, the last of her four straight Scotties appearances.
"Every time within a dozen years, you always believe and hope you'll be the one," said Nedohin, who sacrificed most of her voice in a testy week.
"Out of that time period, there were a lot of second and third places. This feels really rewarding and we're going to enjoy it."
Nedohin won Alberta in her first outing as a skip, the year after losing the 1999 Scotties final to Colleen Jones as Team Canada's third for Cathy King.
Nedohin survived a somewhat harrowing day, where she stole points in the 10th and extra ends in the morning semifinal against Calgary's Crystal Webster.
Coming off that nail-biting win, Nedohin's supporting cast had perhaps its best outing of the week.
"In the first battle against her, we had her at 90-some%," said Nedohin. "In the second game, our stats weren't impressive. (Sunday), we knew all of us needed to come out with our A game and I can honestly say we did.
"Crystal, (Sunday) morning, played outstanding. She outplayed us for the first three-quarters of the game. The ice changed in the later part of the game and, thankfully, we got the upper hand. We got a break."
This is a team that has been waiting for their chance at The Show for a long time.
In a somewhat cosmic moment, this year's Scotties is being held in the Red Deer Centrium, the same arena where Nedohin skipped Team Canada to a world junior championship in 1996.
"Red Deer has been good to us," said Nedohin.
Third Beth Iskiw, originally from Truro, N.S., has been with Nedohin for five years. Iskiw and lead Laine Peters played for Nova Scotia when the Scotties was last held in Red Deer, 2004.
"Just unbelievable," said Iskiw. "Like I said to Heather. ‘Finally, finally, we got it.' (Saturday) night, we had a tough game (the A-B loss to Kaufman) — all of us — so we knew (Sunday) we had to play better. We had to play our A game for sure and we brought it."
Peters will be in her fourth Scotties but first as a player out of Alberta.
"This is fantastic," said Peters, who learned to curl in Carrot River, Sask., and joined the team last season.
"Everything's more of a grind out here. We're totally pumped to be the host team."
Second Jessica Mair, the only Edmonton-trained member of the team, joined the team four years ago.
"It's a fabulous feeling," said Mair.
"This is my first-ever (national championship appearance), so this is huge fore me. It feels really good."
Before every game, the Heather Nedohin team plays a game — Catch Word.
"We played the blondes against brunettes," said Nedohin, a brunette whose teammate Jessica Mair battled Beth Iskiw and Laine Peters.
"Us brunettes allowed the blondes to win to boost their confidence," said Nedohin.
So, that's the real story behind Beth Iskiw's 88% game?
"Yep, there you go," said Nedohin. "If it wasn't for the brunettes letting the blondes win, it might have turned out different."