Team Carey steals victory to remain undefeated, Team Koe off to final

OTTAWA – Krista McCarville did herself and some other teams a huge favour and at the same time put on a show for the students at the school she teaches at in Thunder Bay, Ont. McCarville, along with third Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala, lead Sarah Potts, alternate Lee Merklinger and coach Lorraine Lang, toppled 2014 Olympic women’s curling champion Jennifer Jones 7-3 Thursday afternoon to move into playoff contention at the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings. Team McCarville is 4-2 after losing two of their first three games. On Thursday, they jumped out to a 4-1 lead after five ends and held on from there, likely to the delight of the students at her school, which planned to show the game on a big screen in the gymnasium. “We just play better when our backs are against the wall,” said McCarville. “We knew coming out here that three losses may not get us in, it being top three instead of top four. We’re coming out here and leaving it all out on the line, and we’re also going to have some fun and enjoy the crowd that’s cheering and enjoy the whole atmosphere.” McCarville will play Chelsea Carey’s first-place Calgary team at 9 a.m. Friday and Michelle Englot of Winnipeg (2-4) in the afternoon. “We want to keep that momentum going, that good feeling going tomorrow morning,” said McCarville. It was Jones’s second loss in a row, having been beaten by Carey on Wednesday. “You never want to lose back-to-back, and we did,” said Jones, who will play world champion Rachel Homan of Ottawa in the final draw of the round robin Friday night. “So we’ve put ourselves in a back-against-the-wall kind of situation where we’re going to have to win tomorrow and hopefully give ourselves a chance.” Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer, lead Dawn McEwen, alternate Jennifer Clark-Rouire and coach Wendy Morgan have made a habit of winning when their backs are against the wall. “I don’t mind that,” Jones said with a smile. “It kind of gets the adrenalin flowing. It’s what it’s all about. It’s playing the game’s big moments.” Carey remained undefeated at 6-0 thanks to a steal of three in the 10th end allowing her to edge Julie Tippin of Woodstock, Ont., 9-8. The comeback was necessary after giving up four in the second end. “It wasn’t even a bad end, it was just a couple of bad breaks on my shots that just worked out as bad as they could’ve and handed them the four,” said Carey. “You don’t expect to pull that off two down coming home, but stranger things have happened this week.” Carey, third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Laine Peters and coach Helen Radford need one win in their two games Friday to clinch first place and a spot in Sunday’s final. “Worst-case scenario we’re 6-2 and in the playoffs. So we’re pretty happy with that. Obviously, we’d like to win one of those and clinch first place,” said Carey. She didn’t dispute a game like Thursday’s makes the squad seem like a team of destiny.

Brendan Bottcher’s Edmonton team stayed in playoff contention with a victory over Team Epping on Thursday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

“That one would certainly appear so. In other games we made key shots when we needed to, and we did play a really good 10th end, it was by far the best end we’ve played in terms of placement. We got some breaks with them missing some shots. You definitely need some breaks to win two-down, coming home without (the hammer), and that’s a huge break for us,” said Carey. “You need breaks to win a championship. That’s probably a bigger one than we expected go get, but you won’t see me arguing about that.” While Carey is a win away from being in the final, on the men’s side Kevin Koe is in the final and a win away from representing Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Koe, third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing, lead Ben Hebert, alternate Scott Pfeifer and coach John Dunn, downed John Morris of Vernon, B.C., 7-4 to go 7-0 in the nine-team round robin. “We knew that going into the day, that was the big goal. The first goal was to make the playoffs. This was the second one, to make the final. Now we’ve got one more,” said Koe, who will have hammer and the choice of rocks in the final. “Whoever we’re playing we’re going to be playing a great team, and they’re going to be coming in probably on a hot streak. It’s always nice to start with the hammer. We’ve had a solid week, we’ve obviously had a few breaks, but the second half of just about all of our games we’ve played great. “Hopefully we have our best game in us still. We’re playing good and we’re making the shots at the end.” Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher remained in the playoff picture at 3-3 after downing John Epping of Toronto (1-5) 7-6 in an extra end Thursday. The 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings continues with a draw today at 7 p.m. (all times EST) and draws Friday at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings are available at TSN/TSN2 and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule For ticket information for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, CLICK HERE. This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at