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McCarville rink moves on at Scotties

Up 9-1 through four, Team McCarville nearly gave the Page qualifier away, Nova Scotia closing to within one through eight, but will stay alive in their quest for a first national women's curling title.
Krista McCarville skips on Day 6 of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Fort William Gardens. (Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

THUNDER BAY – Through four ends of her Scotties Tournament of Hearts Page Playoff qualifier with Nova Scotia, Krista McCarville was in complete control.

By the eighth end, however, she was hanging on, having watched Christina Black’s team whittle away at a 9-1 Northern Ontario lead closing the gap to one with steals in the sixth, seventh and eighth ends.

It took a mistake by Black in the ninth, crashing off a guard with a Northern Ontario stone in the four-foot, that helped right the ship for McCarville, lead Sarah Potts, second Ashley Sippala and third Kendra Lilly, giving them a draw for two that created enough space to eke out an 11-8 win.

The victory means McCarville will advance, taking on Tracy Fleury’s wild-card team on Friday night at Fort William Gardens for a chance to advance into the 1-2 Page Playoff game, the loser getting a second chance in the 3-4 contest.

“I felt pretty relieved in the ninth end to take that two and get a little more comfortable lead back and going into the 10th end being up three is a good feeling,” said McCarville, who made a draw for four in the third end to open up a 5-1 lead, then stole four more in the fourth to go up by eight.

It was a battle, McCarville said, noting the team had to regroup and take stock of what was happening as Black, whose team includes Thunder Bay’s Karlee Everist, inched closer and closer, making shot after shot and forcing the Northern Ontario skip to attempt precision throws with opposition points on the line.

“When you’re giving up steal after steal, it can get to you a little bit. After every single end we’d get together and stay really positive and even though there were some missed shots, you have to stay positive because it’s a long game and anything can happen,” McCarville said.

“We were still in control.”

Coach Rick Lang, a two-time world champion himself, said he kept telling the team it was time to stop the bleeding.

“Stop the bleeding is exactly the phrase,” Lang said. “Like Krista said earlier, we tried to stay positive in the fact we were still winning the game, we still had the hammer and we still had the lead at all points in the game.

“You try to emphasize those positives. We talked strategy and what level of defensiveness we wanted to play. But you know what? They started making a lot of shots and we weren’t getting the ends set up the way we wanted to right from the start.”

Black’s comeback began in the fifth, when McCarville left her a run-double for four that cut the Northern Ontario lead in half. The Thunder Bay skip came up short on a draw for one in the sixth, then hit and spilled on a double takeout in the seventh, giving up another single to her opponent. Her draw was off again in the eighth, the 9-1 lead cut to just one.

McCarville will be back on the ice on Friday night at 7 p.m. against Fleury, the No. 1-ranked curler in the country, a team that nudged her 8-6 in Thursday’s round-robin finale.

“We know that they’re good shooters and we definitely have to bring our A game,” McCarville said.

Also advancing was New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford, who dispatched of a historic Northwest Territories team, skipped by Kerry Galusha, making its first appearance in a Scotties playoff, by an 8-6 score.

“I’m so proud of the girls with the way that we played that game. We were behind until the seventh end. We just hung in there and we wanted to keep playing well. We were playing well, we just weren’t catching the breaks.”

In the rings: Thunder Bay’s Ashley Sippala was named a Scotties second-team all-star. Team Canada, skipped by Kerri Einarson, swept all four first-team spots. They finished 8-0 and will take on Crawford in Friday night’s other match.

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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