Alberta wins Scotties

Alberta skip Heather Nedohin (left) along with teammates Beth Iskiw (second left), Jessica Mair and...

Alberta skip Heather Nedohin (left) along with teammates Beth Iskiw (second left), Jessica Mair and Laine Peters (right) pose with trophy after winning the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Red Deer, Alta., Feb. 26, 2012. (TODD KOROL/Reuters)

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:27 PM ET

RED DEER, ALTA. - Since 1981, there have been only two Alberta Scotties champions.

Heather Nedohin has been the common factor on both those teams.

Nedohin earned the right to wear the Team Canada Maple Leaf at the worlds in Lethbridge next month with a wild 7-6 win over B.C.'s Kelly Scott in Sunday's Scotties final.

The team won eight of its last nine starts as it caught fire after a slow start.

"I am so proud of my team," said Nedohin, who was named the Scotties MVP. "During the run in the playoffs, we held our composure. To wear the Maple Leaf in Alberta, it's going to be outstanding. I'm thrilled and I'm really looking forward to it.

"No matter if we were on or off the ice, people told us to just keep going. What else can you do? Just keep trusting yourself and I think it showed."

The fatal blow was struck with a troika in the sixth end.

Nedohin's first draw went deeper than she wanted, but welded onto her own rock. Scott drew on top of the two rocks for shot, but Nedohin's hit curled just enough to squeeze out the B.C. rock. A measure for the third point wasn't even close.

"Thankfully, it came up just a little bit," said Nedohin. "That spot was a bit straight. It was a big three."

Sure, there was a sense of accomplishment for a foursome that made the most of their chances after losing two of the previous three Alberta finals.

"I'm going to say we were all-stars all the way through," said Nedohin, whose supporting cast were all named to the second all-star team.

In a competitive province where chances to appear on the national stage are hard to come by, Nedohin made the most of her chance -- this time as a skip of her own team.

Two Alberta champions in the last 31 years? That's hard to believe.

"That surprises the heck out of me knowing the Kleibrinks, the Bernards and the wonderful teams that have been here before us," said Nedohin. "I'm shocked it was me and my team and I'll take it. To think that the last time an Alberta team did it was when I was with Cathy (King, in 1998) is unbelievable."

On a team of all-stars, this win was a total team effort.

The team curled 87%. Nobody in the supporting cast was ranked lower than 85% and third Beth Iskiw led the way with a lights-out 93% rating, making many key draws and multiple-rock takeouts.

"We just worked really well together," said Iskiw, who's getting a trip to the worlds in her third attempt.

"We gave each other what we needed out there.

"Definitely, Heather deserved the MVP. She just stepped it up for the last few games. She's played really well all week. Stats don't necessarily reflect how things are going, but the last several games, she's played unbelievable. When we needed her to make a clutch shot, she came through for us."

Second Jessica Mair contributed to the win with a key shot in the eight end to preserve the win.

"It's an indescribable feeling," said Mair. "Very cool. It's something I've been dreaming about for a long, long time. To come here in my first time at the show and win it is fantastic.

"It worked out nicely for us and for Heather to be recognized. (Sunday), coming out, playing our game and playing strong is what we wanted to do."

Lead Laine Peters was solid in her set-up role.

"We had a good week," said Peters. "It's phenomenal. Everybody who curls competitively dreams of this day when you win a Canadian championship. It's huge.

"(Heather) totally deserved that award. She made so many shots all week long. It's been a very solid week."

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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