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Northern Ontario skip Krista McCarville delivers the stone while taking on Quebec in the 3rd draw of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Catharines, Ont., on Feb. 19, 2017. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Northern Ontario skip Krista McCarville delivers the stone while taking on Quebec in the 3rd draw of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Catharines, Ont., on Feb. 19, 2017. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Northern Ontario’s McCarville aims for a less stressful Scotties Tournament of Hearts Add to ...

Krista McCarville vows her Northern Ontario team is done with larceny, although it has been profitable for them.

Her Thunder Bay foursome led last year’s Canadian women’s curling championship in stolen points with 31, but it was the playoff round where they took thieving to spectacular heights.

Trailing in both games, McCarville stole three points over the ninth and 10th ends of a playoff win over Manitoba and did the same in a semi-final victory over defending champion Jennifer Jones.

McCarville, third Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala and lead Sarah Potts out of the Fort William Curling Club fell 8-7 to Chelsea Carey in the final in Grande Prairie, Alta.

McCarville prefers they not white knuckle their way to wins in St. Catharines, Ont., this year.

“Just before we came here we talked about that and why that happened,” McCarville said.

“We tried to figure out, ‘why did we play that much better after the fifth end?’ I think when our backs are against the wall, that’s just what we do. We pick up our game and play a little bit more sharp.

“We’re coming here this year to not start that way. We want to be sharp from the beginning.”

They’ve been mostly true to their word to start the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

They did steal a total of seven points, winning two of their first three, but those were scored earlier in the game. Scoring without a hammer is a skill, but one with low odds of success.

“We are a resilient team,” Lilly said. “We kind of wanted to zone in [on] why we play much better in the second half and apply that in the first half.

“Maybe don’t have those tight of games and coming-from-behind wins and stuff, which were kind of fun to be a part of. But if we can [make it] a little less stressful out there, it would be good for us and I’m sure for our fans.”

McCarville (2-1) was to face Michelle Englot of Manitoba in Monday evening’s draw. The afternoon draw was full of heists with 14 stolen ends totalling 26 points.

Ontario’s Rachel Homan and Englot stayed unbeaten and out front at 4-0.

Homan stole single points in ends six through eight in a 6-4 win over Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink.

In a 10-5 victory over Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland and Labrador, Englot recovered from giving up a steal of three in the fifth end by scoring seven points over the final five.

Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories, who won a pre-tournament qualifying round to get into the 12-team main draw, was 3-1 after a 12-9 victory over B.C.’s Marla Mallett.

Quebec’s Ève Bélisle got to 2-2 with an 8-7 win over Prince Edward Island’s Robyn MacPhee.

Kleibrink and Curtis fell to 2-2, while MacPhee and Mallett were both winless in four games.

McCarville’s team doesn’t travel as much as some teams chasing points and money on the World Curling Tour.

She and her teammates strive to strike a more equal balance between their sport and their jobs and families.

But they do want a shot at representing Canada at next year’s Winter Olympics. Seven of nine women’s berths in December’s trials in Ottawa are still on the table.

The winner in St. Catharines gets one of those spots.

“We definitely play a lot less than most teams,” Potts said. “Everyone is really focused on the Olympics. Our team, the Scotties is it for us. Of course, we would love to get a trials spot and our way to get a trials spot is to win the Scotties.

“We’re not so much points hungry as other teams. We’re more focused on what’s the best events for us to go in. We practice really hard. We’re a little bit different than other teams, but it works for us. People on our team are full-time employees and they have children. We have lives outside [of curling] and it works for us.”

Lilly was new to the team last year. Coming so close to the crown in Grande Prairie made McCarville and company hungry to get back to the final in St. Catharines and claim it this time.

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