A pivotal steal of three in the eighth end propelled Nedohin's Edmonton team to victory.
"When your heart is pounding from the first end to the 10th end, it feels good to get a 'W' at the end," Nedohin said.
"I'm just overly-excited. This has been a dream of our since we were little girls. We're here at the show right in our own province with all our family and friends. I think that's why my heart is pounding."
Nedohin last played in a world championship in 1998 as third for Cathy King. They won a bronze medal in Kamloops, B.C.
Canada has a tough day ahead Sunday with games against former world champion Bingyu Wang and two-time Olympic silver medallist Mirjam Ott of Switzerland.
"What day isn't a big day here?" Nedohin exclaimed.
The 36-year-old is skip is animated and emotional in every game she plays. Nedohin took deep breaths and sips from her water bottle to slow down the pace in her head.
"More communication, more talk, more focus on the ice and utilizing that time in between ends to enjoy the moment, take a look around and everything, but come back," Nedohin added to her list of calming strategies.
A steal of three in the eighth end for Canada was the turning point. American second Natalie Nicholson threw an attempted tap through two stones, which negated a chance for them to score two.
Skip Allison Pottinger faced a draw against three Canadian stones at the top of the eight-foot rings. She was half a metre heavy to give up the steal of three and an 8-4 lead.
"I just didn't take a second in the half and just get calm before throwing it," Pottinger said. "I knew as soon as I let it go 'that was too much.'"
Pottinger is skipping the U.S. for the first time at the world championship, although she won a world title as third for Debbie McCormick in 2003.
Pottinger was born in Brampton, Ont., but her family moved to the United States in 1992 when she was 18.
The Enmax Centre roared its approval when Pottinger's miss gave three to Canada. That's considered unsportsmanlike in curling, but Nedohin attributed the lack of decorum to St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
"I was surprised by our crowd. Usually we wait that one or two seconds," she said. "I think we had a crowd here that's had a little green beer and (there are) over-the-top leprechauns in the arena.
"Obviously a three of any matter, whether it's a steal or a take of three, it was big."
Canada got a big game out of second Jessica Mair, who curled 96 per cent to Nicholson's 83. Mair buried a draw behind a guard in the seventh end, which allowed Canada to set up for two points and a 5-4 lead.
The crowd noise and acoustics in the arena caused some communication problems between Nedohin and her sweepers. Lead Laine Peters complained in the first end that she didn't understand what her skip was saying.
"It's always adjusting your communication and choosing the right words," Nedohin said. "I said a word that could be confused with others."
The Czech Republic's Linda Klimova was the only team to play twice Saturday and win both games. The Czechs edged Italy's Diana Gaspari 6-5 after doubling Ji-Sun Kim of South Korea 6-3.
The South Koreans scored three in the 10th end against Sweden's Margaretha Sigfriddson at night to win 9-8 and put both teams at 1-1.
Switzerland, Germany's Melanie Robillard and Scotland's Eve Muirhead were 1-0.
China, the U.S., Denmark's Lene Nielson and Russia's Anna Sidorova opened with losses. Italy opened 0-2.
The Canadian-born Robillard was a last-minute addition to the German team because Andrea Schoepp broke her leg, so the new skip was relieved to get a 6-3 win over the Danes.
"That's an understatement," Robillard said. "It's pretty stressful. I was trying to keep calm, but I was actually really nervous starting that game.
"I was hoping I'd put the broom in the right place, that the girls would be OK with the way I was calling the game, so yeah, a lot of nerves."
Robillard, whose mother is German, was born in Sussex, N.B., and raised in Ottawa. Robillard won a world championship playing third for Schoepp two years ago in Swift Current, Sask., but says she hasn't skipped a team since the Ontario junior championships over a decade ago.
Switzerland's Ott defeated China 7-5 on Saturday night. Scotland's Eve Muirhead opened with an 8-7 win over the Russians. Sweden thumped Italy 9-3 in the afternoon draw.