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McCarville steals her way into the 1-2 Page Playoff

Northern Ontario team is a win away from Sunday's championship final, with two chances to get there.

THUNDER BAY – Just call Krista McCarville the robber baron of the North.

The Thunder Bay skip showed off her larceny skills on Friday night, stealing eight points against Tracy Fleury’s wild-card team en route to an 8-3 win and a spot in the 1-2 Page Playoff at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, being contested at her hometown Fort William Gardens.

The win gives McCarville, lead Sarah Potts, second Ashley Sippala and third two chances to reach the Scotties final for the second time since 2016.

A win over New Brunswick on Saturday night would send them directly to Sunday’s final, while a loss would relegate them to Sunday afternoon’s semifinal against the loser of the 3-4 Page Playoff between Kerri Einarson’s team Canada, the two-time defending champions, and Fleury, the top seed coming out of Pool A.

“I’m just really happy with the team, that we went out there firing and made every shot. I thought we were really into and I thought we learned the ice very well. Our draw weight was really good and I’m just so proud of the girls and how we persevered and went through and played our game,” said McCarville, whose team will make its first appearance in the 1-2 game, seeking a second shot at a championship final.

McCarville said one of the big keys to victory was Potts, who put the pressure on Fleury early, ultimately leading to steals of two in the second, fifth and six ends, and singles in the third and fourth, racking up an 8-0 lead, her second eight-point lead of the day.

Unlike in her Page qualifier against Nova Scotia earlier in the day, McCarville and her teammates kept the pedal down, limiting the damage Fleury could inflict to a single in the seventh and steals of one in the eighth and ninth before shaking hands.

“It’s so key to get those lead rocks in good spots and Sarah was doing that so well. And Ashley and Kendra were making unbelievable guards. They were perfect every single time. So when it came to my rocks, we were in a really good position almost every end. My job was quite easy today, which I hope carries forth to tomorrow,” said McCarville, who helped author 30 stolen points this week, the most by any team.  

Though they have two chances left to make the final, Lilly said they plan to make the most of the first.

“We’ve never been in the 1-2 game. We always thought that was the one thing we really wanted to do this year. We’re unbelievably happy that we’ve got that chance. I don’t think we want to think about it as having a second chance,” Lilly said. “We want to go out and play exactly how we did today in that game and give whoever we’re playing our best game and see what happens.”

New Brunswick, a team Northern Ontario beat 8-6 in the round robin, edged Einarson 8-6, after taking a 1-0 lead in the first before stealing a single in the second and two more in the third. Team Canada got three back in the fourth and stole one to tie it up in the fifth, but after New Brunswick skip Andrea Crawford retook the lead with on in the sixth, she never looked back.

It’s a historic run for Crawford, seeking to become just the second New Brunswick skip to make a Scotties final, the first since Heidi Hanlon lost to British Columbia in 1991.

“Other than saying it feels amazing, I don’t really have much else for words,” said Crawford, in her 10h Scotties.

“That game was another game of so much grit and we just fought hard to stay in the game and got some key misses from the other team. It just allowed us to get that advantage and worked out well in the end.”

The 1-2 Page Playoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., while the 3-4 Page Playoff goes at 2 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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