The wait had been interminable. Not only for Edmonton skip Heather Nedohin, but for all those observers who fingered her as a future national curling star as far back at the Nineties.
That’s when she won the Canadian and world junior titles in her home province and then joined Cathy King for a 1998 Scotties title and a 1999 Scotties runner-up finish.
But, this past week at the Enmax Centre in Red Deer, you could see this one coming. An express train on the rails. And the long wait disintegrating.
It ended with an explosion of curling near-excellence on Sunday afternoon at the Enmax Centre when Nedohin’s Alberta team won the Scotties Tournament Of Hearts title at the expense of two-time champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna with a dominant 7-6 final-game victory.
It should be noted, too, that Scott wasn’t the only former winner derailed by the Nedohin momentum. Four-time champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg twice was a Nedohin victim during the competition.(Continued Below…)
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The final match wasn’t as tight as the score might indicate.
The demonstrative, animated Nedohin had been insisting all week that she couldn’t believe how efficient her teammates were playing. But the proof was there for all to witness Sunday. The Albertans outpointed their foe at every position.
“I couldn’t believe how easy the peels were for them,” said the jubilant winning skip. “What a team!”
Said the defeated B.C. skip:
“They were better than us today, for sure. They definitely had momentum coming into the game. We had our day off, and sometimes that’s not a benefit, right? But I don’t think that had anything to do with the result of today.
“We just had nothing going . . . ever. None of what we were doing all week was working in this game.”
Scott was facing an uphill battle with difficult shots in practically every end as the Albertans dominated percentage shotmaking 87-78. The major difference was at third where Iskiw was particularly immense.
After an exchange of singles, Alberta stole the third and fourth ends. Scott picked up a tying deuce in the fifth when Nedohin executed one of her few unforced errors but the Alberta team bounced right back with a crushing three in the sixth.
“It was that big score,” said Nedohin. “It’s always great coming right back and scoring when your opponent scores. I thought we were only going to get two. Three was a bonus.”
That lead was more than Scott was able to overcome over the remainder of the contest as Alberta succeeded in mounting a immaculate defence.
The 36-year-old Nedohin will skip Canada’s representative at the World women’s curling championship March 17-25 at Lethbridge’s Enmax Centre.
“Any moment with the maple leaf on your back is a proud moment,” said Nedohin. “You know you’ve had to battle through numerous great teams just to get there. To represent your country? Wonderful. To do it in Canada, and in Alberta? It couldn’t be better.(Continued Below…)
Final Media Scrum
“I’ve done it before and you know the crowd is behind you. Like this week, the energy of the crowd is there, you feed off it and it’s outstanding.”.
The win also guaranteed the Albertans entry to the 2012 Canada Cup at Moose Jaw in December and the 2013 Continental Cup at Penticton next January.
In addition, Nedohin won a total of $15,500 in prize money, $54,167 in cresting payments, $144,000 Sports Canada funding over two seasons and $40,000 Own The Podium funding for training and competition expenses.
Nedohin also was named tournament MVP while the Shot-of-the-Week award went to B.C. vice-skip Sasha Carter who executed a spectacular long raise double-kill in the eighth end of the tournament’s Page One-Two playoff match against Jones on Friday night.