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Krista McCarville earns one of two berths into the Canadian curling trials

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — Krista McCarville earned one of two berths into the Canadian curling trials Saturday after defeating Winnipeg's Briane Meilleur 7-5 in the first of two women's qualifying games at the 2017 Road to the Roar pre-trials.

Team McCarville will compete at the 2017 Roar of the Rings next month in Ottawa — Canada's Olympic curling qualifying tournament. 

"Oh, we're so excited," said McCarville. "To come out here and play so well in this great field, it feels really good to get the first spot and to be going to those trials."

McCarville, from Thunder Bay, Ont., is backed up by third Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala, lead Sarah Potts and coach Lorraine Lang.

In recent years, McCarville hasn't played the Grand Slam circuit to any great extent, but has delivered under the spotlight at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts the past two seasons, winning silver in 2016 and losing the bronze-medal game last February.

"Coming into this, I said to the girls that it's like a Scotties," said McCarville. "A beautiful arena with the great atmosphere, the great ice, the rocks, so it's like a national competition that you want to win."

Meilleur will get another shot at qualifying for the Roar of the Rings on Sunday as she drops into the B-side qualifying game where she will face either Kelsey Rocque of Edmonton or Julie Tippin of Woodstock, Ont.

Rocque and Tippin won elimination games Saturday night — Rocque scored a 6-3 win over Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont., while Tippin cruised to a 7-3 win over Calgary's Nadine Scotland.

In men's play, Glenn Howard of Tiny, Ont., and Greg Balsdon of Kingston, Ont., kept their Roar of the Rings hopes alive by winning elimination games.

Howard, who'd suffered his first loss of the tournament earlier on Saturday, bounced back with a 5-2 win over Winnipeg's Jason Gunnlaugson.

Balsdon, meanwhile, toppled Edmonton's Charley Thomas 8-5.

Howard and Balsdon will play Sunday, with the winner going into the final men's qualifying game later that night. The winner will play the loser of the first qualifying game, set for Sunday morning between John Morris of Vernon, B.C., and Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton.

The Road to the Roar is the final qualifying event for teams to reach the Roar of the Rings, Dec. 2 to 10 in Ottawa, where Canada's four-player curling teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will be decided.

The Canadian Press

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