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Northern Ontario shocks Team Canada to reach Scotties final

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – As Yogi Berra reputedly said, it was like deja-vu all over again.

Krista McCarville and her Northern Ontario team from Thunder Bay simply refused to quit on Saturday, scoring back-to-back come-from-behind victories Saturday to advance to Sunday’s final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

McCarville, third Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala, lead Sarah Potts, alternate Oye-Sem Won Briand and coach Lorraine Lang stole three points in the final two ends to upset Jennifer Jones of Team Canada 7-5 in Saturday night’s semifinal at Revolution Place.

They did the same thing to steal their way to victory in the Page 3-4 game with Manitoba earlier in the day.

They are, said Lilly, a team of destiny.

“There’s been quite a few things along this week that have us saying to ourselves, ‘This is destiny.’ We feel this is our year so we’re going to bring it the next game,” she said.

And McCarville agreed totally.

“Absolutely we believe that. We’ve had such a great year together.”

They were in a struggle against Jones through five ends but outscored Team Canada 5-1 in the final five to grab the victory.

“I don’t even really know what just happened,” said a jubilant Lilly. “Throughout the whole week that’s pretty much our story. In the last five ends is where we strive. We’re able to put the pressure on and steal and it’s gotten us to the Scotties final.”

Jones had a chance for one in 10 that would have forced an extra end but her final stone draw came up short, letting Northern Ontario steal a single.

“We let that one slip away,” said Jones. “But they played a great second half and we just weren’t good enough today.

In the final half Jones said she “missed a couple of draws. That hit-and-roll-out in nine let the girls down. But we had a great week and hopefully we’ll be back.”

Jones, who like her second Jill Officer was seeking her record-tying sixth Scotties championship, and Team Canada lead Dawn McEwen were scored at a perfect 100 per cent with their shots through five ends.

That, combined with some key misses by Northern Ontario, allowed Canada to score deuces in the first and third ends for a 4-1 lead.

But both had misses in the sixth end. And when Jones came up half a foot short with her last-rock draw to the button, McCarville stole one, only the sixth time all tournament that Canada had allowed a stolen point.

The teams traded singles in the seventh and eighth – Jones was a foot too heavy with her last-rock draw for two in seven and McCarville made a cold draw to the button against three Canada counters in eight.

After she and Lawes both missed with attempted doubles in the ninth, Jones attempted to hit for one but shooter stunningly rolled out to let McCarville steal two for a 6-5 lead.

Jennifer Jones shows her dejection after her ninth-end miss against Northern Ontario. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Jennifer Jones shows her dejection after her ninth-end miss against Northern Ontario. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, Officer, McEwen, alternate Jennifer Clark-Rouire and coach Wendy Morgan (who missed the game due to illness) will now play Kerri Einarson of Manitoba (East St. Paul) in Sunday’s 1:30 p.m. MT bronze medal game.

McCarville will play Chelsea Carey of Alberta in Sunday’s championship final at 6:30 p.m. MT.

The gold-medal champion will represent Canada at the Ford World Women’s Championship, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, March 19-27 in Swift Current, Sask.

Also, the Scotties champion will qualify for the 2016 Home Hardware Canada Cup next December in Brandon, Man., as well as the 2017 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Boyd Gaming, in Las Vegas.

And should the Scotties champs win a medal at the Ford Worlds in Swift Current, they will also qualify for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Ottawa — the event that will decide Canada’s four-player teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

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This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at

TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.