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Canada rallies for 8-7 win over Czechs at women's world curling championships

03/19/2012 03:05 EDT | Updated 05/19/2012 05:12 EDT
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - Heather Nedohin likes to let the horses run, while her third Beth Iskiw wants to pull on the reins.

It's a relationship that seems to work for Canada's back end at the Ford World Women's Curling Championship. Nedohin's rink remained unbeaten with an 8-7 win over the Czech Republic on Monday.

"The difference between Beth and I is that I'm aggressive and she's conservative, so we do have to meet in the middle and come to an agreement," Nedohin said.

"We bicker like old Bettys. I call her my Betty and I'm Dorothy to her. We laugh like we're two old women trying to beat each other in a game of chess. I know it's different than what other back enders do. Other thirds may play more the role of puppet, say 'yes' and agree.

"I like that she has the confidence to give me a different point of view, yet at the same time trust that I'll make the final decision and then we're all-in to make that shot."

There was little debate between Nedohin and Iskiw on what Canada's approach had to be Monday afternoon when Czech skip Linda Klimova scored five points in the second end to lead 5-0.

The Canadians had no choice but to take risks to get back in the game. They went to work scoring eight points, six of them stolen, over the next six ends.

At 4-0, Nedohin's Edmonton foursome was the only unbeaten team left in the field with a game at night versus Denmark.

"I look at the way we've started the last few games and we've been slow out of the gate," Nedohin observed, pointing to second ends in particular. "I think we had to get mean out there. I say mean, but it's not mad at each other.

"It's always tough to defend a lead. We put up junk to go at it. We pushed on her to make big shots. Those are tough to make sometimes."

South Korea's Sun-Ji Kim and Sweden's Margaretha Sigfriddson were tied for second at 4-1.

Kim is the early surprise at this world championship. Her team went 2-9 in last year's world championship. With Pyeongchang winning the bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics, expect South Korea to make strides in all winter sports, including curling.

Switzerland's Mirjam Ott, Germany's Melanie Robillard, Scotland's Eve Muirhead and Denmark's Lene Nielson were all 2-2. Italy's Diana Gaspari and the Czechs were 2-3.

China's Bingyu Wang and Russia's Anna Sidorova were both 1-3. Even though the U.S. had the highest shooting percentage of all teams after seven draws at 86, Allison Pottinger was still looking for her first win after four losses.

The top four teams at the conclusion of the round robin Thursday advance to playoffs.

Curling fans re-discovered at this year's national women's championship how entertaining Nedohin, 36, can be with her dramatic body language and facial expressions. As it often happens, Nedohin's voice was rasping Monday on just the third day of competition.

The occasional butting of heads between Nedohin and Iskiw over strategy also drew attention at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

"In the past, we've had some pretty good arguments out there about different strategy calls and we definitely laugh about it afterwards," Iskiw said.

"We room together too and sometimes we've come back to the room too and said, 'This is what I was thinking,' and we're across the hotel room saying 'What are we going to do next time?'

"I used to believe it wasn't good for a skip and a third to room together, but for us it works because we get that out a little bit if we need to discuss things."

Iskiw, 32, knows Nedohin has the final say. She chooses her time to make a stand carefully.

"Everybody is talking about how she's emotional and I can feel that as well, when I can't press the limits with her," Iskiw said. "You can tell by her body language and the way she's talking, I will step back.

"She knows unless I really believe something, I'm not going to be that strong. Unless I absolutely disagree with something, I won't be that strong. If I'm disagreeing, I'm really believing a certain way."

The Czech Republic is relatively new to international women's curling. The country, which has 2,500 curlers out of four facilities, made its world championship debut in 2007.

Klimova, 23, is skipping her country for the first time at a world championship. After taking the big lead early, Klimova was unable to defend it.

"We were quite excited about the five ender and then they played really well," the Czech skip said. "We were quite afraid I think."

Klimova felt she spent too much time chasing Canadian stones around centre guards, instead of setting up corner guards and making Nedohin follow her.

The turning point was a steal of three by Canada in the fourth end to tie the game 5-5. With five Canadian rocks and a couple of Czech stones clustered around the four-foot-rings, Klimova's final draw was slightly heavy. A measurement on third stones confirmed the steal of a third point Canada.

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