All-Calgary showdown

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

In one sense, it seems quite appropriate.

A pair of teams from the city that hosted the first Olympic curling demonstration event 22 years ago are one win away from representing Canada at the Vancouver Olympics.

Shannon Kleibrink hung on for 10-5 win over a determined Krista McCarville last night to earn a date versus fellow Calgary skip Cheryl Bernard in tonight's women's final.

McCarville crashed trying to bury around a centre guard in the eighth end, giving Kleibrink the open draw for five and the win.

That earned Kleibrink a right to meet Bernard.

"Two Calgary teams in the final," said Kleibrink. "How about that? It's kind of been like that throughout our careers. Bernard is a great team and we've battled it out for probably 15-20 years. It's not surprising to us."

Kleibrink and her third Amy Nixon, the remaining two members of the team that earned the 2006 Olympic bronze medal, came firing right out of the gate.

If there was any doubt that the dynamic duo would like nothing better than to do even better next year in Vancouver, they did a poor job hiding it.

Kleibrink lost the final of the first-ever trial in Brandon to Sandra Schmirler in 1997.

"Won one, lost one," said Kleibrink. "At this point, we're happy just to be in it."

Pinpoint draws by Nixon and Kleibrink created a second-end steal of two and a 3-0 lead. McCarville fought back with a tricky runback double for three in the seventh to even the score at 5-5.

"Tough battle," said Kleibrink. "She made an awesome shot for three.

"I thought maybe we got in there good enough, but she's such a great player that she scored the three and made it a tight game."

McCarville beat Stefanie Lawton and Amber Holland, in an extra end, to get into the semifinal.

It was the furthest she'd ever advanced at a major competition. The three-time Scotties rep out of Thunder Bay, Ont., made the tiebreaker round in 2007, but lost to Bernard.

McCarville's team had every excuse to be tired after playing their third game of the day.

"Not necessarily," said McCarville. "When you get out there, you run on adrenalin. They made some great shots against us. We tried to battle back. We were pretty close, but that last end a couple of our draws came short and we just ticked on a few and it was pretty much bad luck."

Tying it up was as close as they could get to their Olympic dream.

"We were hoping to hold them to one in the eighth end, but it did not turn out that way," said McCarville.

"I'm really proud of our team. We worked really hard in the past four years. We were so pumped in Prince George when we made it into the trials. It kinda gives us the confidence that we can compete at the Scotties and maybe win it some day."

Going in, Kleibrink knew McCarville would give her team all it could handle.

"We were watching the (Holland) game on TV and they were making some great shots," said Kleibrink.

"We knew they'd come out on fire again. They're a fighting team. We were just lucky to get that last five-ender."

CON.GRIWKOWSKY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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