Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/24/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
KINGSTON, ONT. -- Team Canada's Heather Nedohin has regained her championship form when it matters most and will carry a hot hand into her game against Manitoba's Jennifer Jones in this morning's semifinal (8 a.m., TSN) at the Canadian women's curling championship.
Riding a two-game losing streak and having lost four of her last five, Nedohin brought an abrupt end to her team's slide with a convincing and impressive 8-4 thrashing of B.C.'s Kelly Scott in the Page playoff 3 vs. 4 game Saturday afternoon.
The loss eliminated B.C. and advanced Nedohin's team to this morning's game against Jones, who dropped into the semi after losing the 1 vs. 2 game Saturday night 8-5 to Ontario's Rachel Homan.
Homan will await the winner of Manitoba and Canada, a rematch of last year's semifinal -- won on an extra-end measure by Nedohin.
Nedohin was delighted with what she saw out of her team against B.C. and said it's starting to feel reminiscent of last year when her team got hot in the playoffs and rattled off consecutive wins in the 3 vs. 4 game over Quebec, the semifinal over Manitoba and the final over B.C. en route to a Canadian championship.
"I thought the team played, I'd have to say on fire, right from the start. We definitely came out with some determination in our eyes," said Nedohin.
"This is the way Team Nedohin has played throughout the whole year. We are battlers, we play strong and, you know what, we handle adversity really well at times. We may not get a 'W' when we want it, but I think that's the strength within our team -- we can rebound after a loss and we learn from our mistakes and go forward."
It was the opposite story Saturday for B.C., who were flummoxed by the ice early and never did recover.
"We were just completely fooled there the first few ends," said Scott. "We thought it would curl and it ran straight, and vice versa. I don't know what I attribute that to, whether it was the sheet or our rocks. But we're going to have to figure that out for tomorrow."
Scott will play the loser of the semifinal in this afternoon's bronze-medal game.
B.C. had won five straight coming into Saturday's contest but the team failed to adjust to changed ice conditions, giving up three steals in the first five ends and squandering the advantage of hammer they had to start the game.
Already leading 3-1, Nedohin effectively sealed the deal in the sixth end, playing a nifty split on a Team Canada stone just in front of the rings to spill two more counters into the house and score a back-breaking three-ender.
It was a disappointing finish for a B.C. squad that boasts three former Manitobans -- Scott, second Sasha Carter and a newcomer this year in lead Sarah Wazney.
Wazney, who was lead on the Manitoba junior team skipped by Kaitlyn Lawes that won a Canadian title in 2008, moved to Kelowna specifically to curl with Scott this season and her skip specifically cited Wazney as a reason her team intends to take today's bronze-medal game very seriously,
"It's huge and the reason it's huge for our team in particular is it's first Scotties for Sarah. And boy that Scotties jewelry -- if you ever get the opportunity to wear one of those beautiful rings -- we want nothing more than to earn that for Sarah."
If B.C. wins the bronze today, Wazney will receive a Scotties ring with an emerald setting, while the other B.C. team members will receive upgrades to the existing settings they have on the rings they previously won as Canadian champions in 2006 and 2007.
Wazney, 26, who missed three games with a suspected case of food poisoning earlier in the event, described a bittersweet experience in her first Scotties. "It was a week of ups and downs, that's for sure," said Wazney. "But for me, this is always going to be my first Scotties. And it'd be great to come home with some hardware."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 24, 2013 B7
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