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McCarville battles back to win Major League of Curling opener

Trevor Bonot, Kory Carr and Dylan Johnston rinks also claim victory to open the 2021-22 season.

THUNDER BAY – An ideal season for Krista McCarville and Sarah Potts would see them either on the podium at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, or in a similar spot at Fort William Gardens, bringing home a Scotties Tournament of Hearts title.

Getting to either reality won’t be easy, especially for a team that doesn’t spend much time on the curling circuit.

It’s why they’re looking at the Tbaytel Major League of Curling schedule so intently these days, viewing their weekly matches as one of their best possible tune-ups for their trip later this month to the pre-Olympic trials in Liverpool, N.S.

And if that dream isn’t realized, they want to be in peak form for the Northern Ontario Scotties in January in Kenora, the final step they need to represent the region on home ice at the national women’s curling championship.

Wednesday night’s debut was a little shaky, but after surrendering an early 5-2 lead, McCarville, Sarah Potts, Ashley Sippala and Oye Sem Won managed to score two in the seventh and jammed up the front of the house sufficiently enough to steal an insurance point in the eighth, downing the Gary Weiss rink 8-6.

“It was a good game back and forth. We had some misses here and there and there were some good shots. We had to work around a little bit of some problems out there with the ice – there were some bumps out there from all the humidity. But it adds a little bit of excitement to the game too,” McCarville said.

Weiss’ draw in the fourth slid a little too far, giving McCarville a steal of two and a 5-2 lead. But the Weiss rink got them all back in the fifth, hitting his draw weight for the triple.

After giving up a steal of one in the sixth, McCarville regrouped and scored a deuce with the hammer in the seventh, the two points crafted from the wily mind of a seasoned veteran skip, said Potts, playing her usual lead position.

“That was big. That was the skip’s deuce, for sure. That was just Krista’s last two shots. She did that all on her own, and it was really nice,” Potts said. “It’s hard early on. The ice conditions aren’t ideal because it’s too warm outside. So we kind of had to battle through that a little bit. But yeah, Krista came through big in that end and that’s pretty much what did it for us.”

Weiss had a chance to force a playoff shot to the button, but his attempted raise of his own stone was unsuccessful, handing Team McCarville the win.

One sheet over, Trevor Bonot overcame a slow start, down 2-0 after three ends, to knock off Jonathon Vellinga 6-2, the two sides shaking after six ends.

Bonot evened things up in the fourth, drawing for two, then added three more in the fifth without the hammer to break the game open.

“It was a little sluggish. It was tricky ice ... but we pushed through and got through it. We have a solid team this year and just have to be patient. We knew that we’d get our feet under us and it happened in the fourth to sixth end,” Bonot said.

“We had one fortunate break in the middle of the (fifth) and we just capitalized. We had our draw weight by this point and for my two rocks we were able to dial it in and put them in really good spots.

In other opening draw action at the Kakabeka Curling Club, Dylan Johnston made easy work of Britney Malette, downing her 13-2, while Kory Carr knocked off Frank Morissette 10-6.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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