NEWS
02/19/2012 02:05 EST | Updated 04/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Alberta's Nedohin hands Manitoba's Jones first loss of the Scotties

RED DEER, Alta. - Heather Nedohin puts her entire body into curling.

The usual way to watch the sport is to pay attention to the stone as it travels down the ice for its subsequent effect in the house.

But the Alberta skip's dramatic body language while the rock is in motion is so entertaining, your eyes are drawn to her.

In the house, the 36-year-old crouches, contorts, grimaces and jerks as granite connects with granite. She shouts to her sweepers in a high octave with no consideration for what her voice may sound like in a few days.

After throwing her own stones, Nedohin will stand with one arm out to the side or straight over her head with a beseeching expression. She'll sometimes wave wildly at the stone to do her bidding.

"I think I would be a fantastic tennis player to watch too," Nedohin said Sunday at the Canadian women's curling championship.

"If you watched me as a junior, I did the same thing. Thankfully I can still do the moves as a mom."

Egged on by a pro-Alberta crowd of almost 5,200 at Red Deer's Enmax Centrium, and playing an important game against Manitoba's Jennifer Jones, Nedohin was balletic at times in an 8-6 win over the four-time Canadian champion.

"I think you'd be lying if you were a Flame or an Oiler saying you don't get your game up when you're in your own rink, right?" Nedohin said. "We're Team Alberta. The crowd is fun. It's electrifying."

Nedohin, third Beth Iskiw, second Jessica Mair and Beth Iskiw curl out of the Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton.

Alberta scored three in the third end and an important two in the eighth to be the first team to beat Jones, one of the favourites in the 12-team field.

"They played great and they deserved to win that game," Jones said. "Hopefully we'll pick it up tomorrow and play a little bit better."

The win bumped host Alberta to 1-1 with a game remaining at night against defending champion Amber Holland.

Holland, Ontario's Tracy Horgan and B.C.'s Kelly Scott were 2-0.

Manitoba's Jones dropped to 2-1 alongside Saskatchewan's Michelle Englot and Kerry Galusha of Yukon and Northwest Territories.

After opening the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a pair of victories, Englot dropped her first game in a 10-8 loss to B.C.'s Scott.

New Brunswick's Rebecca Atkinson, P.E.I.'s Kim Dolan and Quebec's Marie-France Larouche were tied at 1-2.

Nova Scotia's Heather Smith-Dacey finished third in last year's Scotties in Charlottetown, but stumbled out of the gates here. Both Nova Scotia and Heather Strong of Newfoundland and Labrador were 0-3.

The top four teams at the conclusion of playoffs Thursday advance to the Page playoff.

Nedohin is married to David Nedohin, who threw last rocks for the Randy Ferbey team that won four men's world championship from 2001 to 2003 and in 2005. The couple has two daughters.

While Alberta teams have represented Canada in women's curling at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, a team from that province hasn't won a Scotties since Cathy Borst did in 1998 with Nedohin as her third.

Nedohin is skipping Alberta at the Scotties for the first time since 2000. She relishes the opportunity to end the drought in her home province.

"I embrace every moment," Nedohin said. "There's three hours out there. That's my time and I embrace every moment."