KENORA, Ont. – There aren’t many skips who have curled their way to 10 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Add Thunder Bay’s Krista McCarville to the list.
The 40-year-old on Sunday took an early hold on her Northern Ontario women’s provincial curling playdown against Sudbury’s Krysta Burns, and went on to capture the championship and chance to improve on last year’s runner-up performance at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts next month in Kamloops, B.C.
McCarville, Sarah Potts, Ashley Sippala and Kendra Lilly scored two in the second, held Burns to one in the third, then made a hit and stick in the eighth to score three, restoring a four-point lead two ends after Burns battled back with three of her own to cut the lead to 5-4. McCarville went on to win 9-4, stealing a single in the 10th after forcing Burns to a tough draw for one that wound up just a little short.
“I don’t feel like I’ve been to 10 Scotties, but to think I’ve been to 10 Scotties is exciting. I want to win one though,” McCarville said.
“But you know, I just feel grateful to go to them, because I know not everyone has that chance. We work really hard, and I feel this could be the year.”
Lilly, who will be making her sixth Scotties appearance, said it was nice to win their way in again. The team in 2021 declined the opportunity to compete at the national women’s curling championship in Calgary due to the pandemic, and were awarded last year’s Northern Ontario berth when playdowns were cancelled.
“We were so excited and nervous coming here because that’s what our whole season was for. It was big to come back and win again and play like we know that we have and that we know that we can,” Lilly said.
Last year’s championship loss at the Scotties is still pretty fresh in their minds, she said.
“We know that there’s no doubt that we deserved to be in that final last year and we know that we want to get back there and be on the other side of it. We know we show what we can every time at the Scotties, so we just want to put ourselves in that position again,” Lilly said.
Up 4-1 after four, Team McCarville hit the break with a 5-1 advantage after Burns tried to hit and stick for a single, but rolled out for the steal of one for the team from Thunder Bay.
It turned out to be advantageous. Coming out of the break, on her final shot of the sixth, Burns, who did represent Northern Ontario at the 2021 Scotties, needed a nose hit to score three and made it, the McCarville lead cut to one.
The two sides blanked the seventh, thanks in part to a great double takeout by Sippala that cleared the front of the house, and McCarville retained hammer into the eighth. Burns was wide on both of her final shots and this time it was McCarville who had the hit-and-stick for three.
“Having the hammer in eight was huge, because we were up one and we said going into it that even if we get one in eight, we’re happy with that,” McCarville said.
“Anything more than one is a bonus. Getting three is bonus, so going into the ninth end it’s nice having a bit of a lead there.”
The 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is scheduled to begin on Feb. 17.