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McCarville outlasts Crawford in extra ends, will play for Scotties title

Northern Ontario steals one in an extra end to advance to Sunday's championship game, downing Andrea Crawford and New Brunswick 9-8.

THUNDER BAY – All that’s left to write is the Hollywood ending.

Krista McCarville has dreamed of winning a Scotties Tournament Hearts for more than a decade. On Sunday night, not only will she have the chance to realize that dream, if she does, it will happen on her hometown ice.

The Thunder Bay skip pulled off a miracle on Miles Street on Saturday night, roaring back from four down to New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford 9-8 in the 1-2 Page Playoff, claiming victory in an extra end when her opponent’s attempt at a double takeout could only spill one of McCarville’s two stones sitting in scoring position, her own rock sailing out of the house.

Crawford will have a second chance to make the championship game, taking on Team Canada’s Kerri Einarson in Sunday afternoon’s semifinal.

McCarville, on the other hand, will have the luxury of sitting back and watching from her hotel room, resting up for her second Scotties final, the first coming six years ago.

“It would be the world to win it here in Thunder Bay, right beside my club in the Gardens, with my family in the stands and Thunder Bay cheering us on. It would be the most amazing dream of mine in the world, right now,” McCarville said.

Things weren’t looking so optimistic for the Northern Ontario team for much of the match, the crowd at the Gardens watching in deathly silence as Crawford turned a 3-2 deficit after two into a 7-3 advantage though seven, scoring a pair in the third and picking up steals of one in the fourth, fifth and seventh.

The fourth looked like it might be the TSN turning point, before and after the last rock was thrown.

McCarville had a shot at an angle raise for three or possibly four with her final stone, but didn’t hit it thin enough, giving Crawford, who threaded the needle with her last to lie buried in shot position, a steal of one and a 5-3 lead.

“That spot is a pretty curly spot and I just wasn’t giving it enough outward motion,” McCarville said.

 Down four to start the eighth, McCarville took advantage of a rare New Brunswick mistake, when Crawford went for the double, only got one and rolled out, leaving Northern Ontario a relatively simply hit for three.

The shot brought the 400 or so fans on hand to their feet, erupting in a boisterous standing ovation, realizing the outcome was still up in the air.

McCarville, lead Sarah Potts, second Ashley Sippala and third Kendra Lilly, managed to get out a jam in the ninth, Crawford once again going for a takeout, but instead she removed her own stone and was forced to draw for one.

Then, with six stones in the house in the 10th, Lilly buried a stone on the button, nestled between two other Northern Ontario rocks and little chance to remove them. Waving the white flag, Crawford threw up a guard, believing one of her stones was third rock, which would give her hammer in the extra end. McCarville tried a tricky angle raise that might have let her win in regulation, but it went wide and the two teams lined up for one final end.

New Brunswick third Sylvie Quillian gave Team McCarville the break it needed in the extra, trying to blast a guard and scatter Northern Ontario stones out of harm’s way, but wound up taking her own and leaving two red stones in scoring position.

Ultimately Crawford had a double takeout for the win, but missed slightly, only knocking one away and sailing her own stone out of the rings, giving the hometown favourites a 9-8 triumph.

“I just missed a few key shots out there. I’m really disappointed,” Crawford said.

The semifinal is scheduled for noon, with the final set to go at 7 p.m.

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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