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Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019
McCarville and Jacobs claim NOCA crowns
by Randy Pascal

When push came to shove, rinks with multiple "Open" NOCA titles to their credit rose to the occasion in Nipigon.

A berth at both the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sydney (Nova Scotia) and the 2019 Tim Horton's Brier in Brandon (Manitoba) were on the line Sunday in northwestern Ontario, with plenty of national caliber talent on hand for the showcase events.

After not losing a single game in the double round robin format, the Krista McCarville rink came closest to tasting defeat in the final, edging Jenna Enge 8-7 by scoring a deuce, with the hammer, in the 10th and final end.

While McCarville, vice Kendra Lilly and lead Sarah Potts all attended nationals in 2016 and 2017 (in addition to a few more times, individually), the 2019 trek to the east coast will mark the first appearance for second and Sudbury native Jennifer Gates at the Canadian women's curling championship.

Though Team McCarville did handled both Hailey Beaudry and Kira Brunton with relative ease, the tightness of the final might have been foreshadowed in the two earlier matchups with Enge, with victories of 3-1 and 8-6 providing a glimpse of the parity in the two teams.

There may have been some mixed emotions in play for at least some Sudburians, as the triumph by Gates and her mates came at the expense of Enge lead and Jennifer's older sister, Amanda - though the latter has already enjoyed six visits to the Scotties as part of the Tracy (Horgan) Fleury quartet.

On the men's side, the experience of the Brad Jacobs entry (Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden) shone through in the end. Posting a 6-1 round robin record that was blemished by a 9-6 loss to the Curl Sudbury entry of Tanner Horgan, Mark Kean, Jacob Horgan and Maxime Blais, Team Jacobs did just enough to earn their ninth NOCA banner in the past ten years (they were unable to compete in 2014, busy representing Canada at the Winter Olympics in Sochi).

Jacobs and company edged Mike McCarville of Thunder Bay 7-6 in the Sunday morning semi-final, returning to the ice that evening and stopping the undefeated run of Team Horgan with a 7-5 victory.

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