Olympian sweeps field at Southerns

Curling: Cheryl Bernard’s dominance highlights Southerns in Black Diamond

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 06:00 am

Cheryl Bernard screams directions at her sweepers during the A-final of the Southern Playdowns at the Oilfields Curling Club on Saturday in Black Diamond. Bernard won the A-event 10-5 over Calgary’s Crystal Webster to earn the first of three provincial berths on the weekend.
Cheryl Bernard screams directions at her sweepers during the A-final of the Southern Playdowns at the Oilfields Curling Club on Saturday in Black Diamond. Bernard won the A-event 10-5 over Calgary’s Crystal Webster to earn the first of three provincial berths on the weekend.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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After missing out on a return trip to the Olympics, the darling of the Vancouver Winter Games found some redemption on the ice in Black Diamond.

2010 Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard rose above a stacked field at the Southern Playdowns to sweep her way through to the Alberta Scotties in Sylvan Lake with a dominant 10-5 win over Crystal Webster in the A-final Saturday at the Oilfields Curling Club.

“We decided after we lost out to get to the trials let’s refocus, let’s focus on Scotties, but you still have to get there. There are so many teams, just to get to provincials is hard,” said Bernard, who didn’t make it to the Olympic trials for Sochi. “It was really nice we got to (win the southerns) and then you get to provincials and you’re all starting from the same level.

“It will be nice to go to Sylvan, we didn’t make it to provincials last year which was really disappointing.”

Disappointments were few and far between for the Calgary foursome, featuring fellow Olympian Susan O’Connor at third, Lori Olson at second and Shannon Aleksic throwing lead rocks, in the battle of top-two seeds at southerns. Following a blank first-end, Bernard stole a double and a single in the second and third ends with Webster holding hammer to set the tone in the A-final.

“We were going to play it a little more open because the ice is a little trickier and we’ve been getting in a little bit of trouble, so we did that,” said Bernard, a three-time provincial champion. “We got a few breaks early where you just don’t know where to put room for her and (Crystal) had a couple misses.

“We got that 3-0 lead and once you get up like that we have a pretty strong hitting team.”

Bernard made it 5-0 through four with a perfect double takeout before Webster answered back with a deuce in the fifth end. The 47-year-old Bernard would add two in the sixth, with Webster countering via a three-point end in the seventh. Bernard added one in the eighth and two in the ninth before the teams shook hands.

“We got off to a really slow start and they’re a great team, so being down 3-0 isn’t going to be a good way to go,” Webster said. “We had some really good chances that we didn’t finish off. Even in the last end we had a great chance to get two and then we’re only down one coming home.

“We still had a chance, but we were certainly scrambling the whole game.”

Bernard inched her way into the A-final with a remarkable come-from-behind victory over Lethbridge’s Casey Scheidegger. The Calgary skip erased a 7-2 deficit after four ends to win 9-8 in an extra-end on Saturday morning.

“We kept digging and kept forcing them to make last shot,” Bernard said. “And the ice is trickier for that, a little extra weight and it will track on you, so we had some fortunate misses on last rocks and dug back, tied it up and got one in the extra.

“It was a testing semifinal.”

Scheidegger’s name would be heard again at the playdowns as the 2009 Alberta Junior champ successfully navigated through the B-event to earn a spot in the B-final against none other than Webster.

The 25-year-old skip was in control throughout and ensured the victory with a run-back for four in the sixth end in earning an 8-2 win over Webster to qualify for her fourth straight Alberta Scotties.

“It was a little nerve-wracking because you don’t want to go down to the C and play the extra two,” Scheidegger said. “We came out ready to go and played well.

“Our goal all year is always to make it to provincials so we’re just thrilled to go back there.”

The loss pushed Webster down into the C-event where she would outlast former Junior national champion Jocelyn Peterman by an 8-6 score to move on to the C-final against Norma Brown, who eliminated Okotoks’ Shannon Kleibrink in the other semifinal. Webster wouldn’t let her third chance at a provincial berth slip as she picked up three in the ninth end to take the 7-4 victory and the final qualification into the Scotties.

The 2014 Alberta Scotties run from Jan. 8-12 in scenic Sylvan Lake.


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