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McCarville claims top spot in Pool B with dramatic win

Team Northern Ontario scored one in nine to tie Newfoundland and Labrador, then stole another point in 10 to pull out an 8-7 win.
Krista McCarville

THUNDER BAY – Krista McCarville and Team Northern Ontario will hit the playoff round at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts as the top seed out of Pool B.

However, the Thunder Bay and Sudbury foursome needed a dramatic, come-from behind win on Wednesday night to assure their status.

McCarville scored one in the ninth to catch up to Newfoundland and Labrador’s Stacie Curtis, then stole one in the 10th to claim an 8-7 victory.

“The win felt great. My draw weight didn’t feel the greatest. I just said to the girls, sometimes you just need a little bit of luck in curling, and sometimes you need things to go your way, and that was of those that we used that we needed. We haven’t had to use those yet, in this tournament,” McCarville said after the win.

“It’s huge. Being No. 1, you get that jump to one less game. (There’s) less pressure of the do-or-die. In that two-versus-three game, you lose and you’re out. Getting the No. 1 spot is huge.”

They did it the McCarville way, said third Kendra Lilly.

“We like to do things the hard way. We had control in the first half of the game and then we kind of let up. The other team played great, made a ton of shots, make it tough for us. We made her throw a tough one on her last and we just got lucky,” Lilly said.

McCarville, lead Sarah Potts, second Ashley Sippala, Lilly and coach Rick Lang can sit back for a day on Thursday, their round-robin wrapped up at 7-1, and watch the rest of the playoff drama unfold.

Jennifer Jones, who Team Northern Ontario beat in their opener this week at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, B.C., has secured one playoff spot, at 6-1, with Rachel Homan in the driver’s seat for the third and final spot at 4-2. But she faces a key game against a desperate Andrea Kelly of New Brunswick. A win clinches a playoff spot for Homan, a three-time Scotties champion, while a loss would keep Kelly (3-3) and the four-loss teams in the hunt.

McCarville said a season’s worth of work on draws, releases and hit weights, among other techniques, is really all she can point to for her team’s renewed success and confidence, having entered the week a bit under the radar, despite finishing in the silver-medal position last year in Thunder Bay.

 “We’ve been trying to tweak things a little bit here and there just to improve. We work really hard practicing. The only thing we couldn’t do is play a ton more,” McCarville said. “That’s something that we can’t do. We’re trying to do everything that we can, minus that.”

In Pool A, Nova Scotia’s Christina Black feel 7-4 to Alberta’s Kayla Skrlik in their only match of the day, dropping to 4-3 and out of the final playoff spot. The team, which includes Thunder Bay’s Karlee Everist, sits in a three-way tie for fourth with B.C. and Kaitlyn Lawes’ Wild Card. No. 1 team, with a crucial matchup against Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges on Thursday.

St.-Georges’ rink is 5-2. Team Canada’s Kerry Einarson, the three-time defending Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion, leads the pack at 6-0. She’ll look to stay perfect with games against Alberta and Nunavut.

McCarville will play the winner of the match between the second-place finisher in Pool A and the third-place finisher in Pool B in the championship round final. The winner of that game goes to the 1-2 Page Playoff, the loser to the 3-4 game.

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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