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Team North America win WFG Continental Cup 2014

Team North America, WFG Continental Cup 2014 winners Photo: WCF/CCA/Michael Burns

Team North America have won the 2014 World Financial Group Continental Cup for the sixth time after scoring 35 points, 10 more than rivals Team World who finished with 25 points.

51,215 spectators passed through the doors of the Orleans Hotel and Casino Arena in Las Vegas, USA over the last four days to witness Team North America secure their historic win and the prize pot of $52,000 CDN. No team has ever won the event back to back in its 10 year history, this win Team North America’s six in comparison to Team World’s four previous Cup wins.

A total of 15 points were on offer today, which were to be won in six skins games. In skins, the first six ends are worth half a point each, while the final two ends are worth a point each.

In the afternoon, Team World’s Margaretha Sigfridsson from Sweden recorded a 3.5 - 1.5 win against Team North America’s Jennifer Jones from Canada.

Team World’s Niklas Edin from Sweden settled for a 2.5 - 2.5 tie with Team North America’s John Shuster from the USA. The eighth end skin was carried over, meaning that the skips needed to draw to the button to decide the last available point, which Edin won.

In the other game, Canada’s Rachel Homan skipped the Team North America mixed lineup (third Jon Mead, second Alison Kreviazuk, lead Reid Carruthers) to a 3-2 win over Team World’s Tom Brewster from Scotland, Emi Shimizu (Japan), Greg Drummond (Scotland) and Chiaki Matsumura (Japan).

Another historic record was broken during this afternoon session as the crowd of 4,802 broke the event total attendance record, set in 2004 in Medicine Hat (42,317).

In the evening, the Cup was won in the sixth end of the men’s skins game between Team North America’s Brad Jacobs from Canada and Team World’s Thomas Ulsrud from Norway when Ulsrud missed his final shot. That gave Team North America a half-point to push them over the 30 points in the overall standings. The final result of this game ended 4-1 in Jacob’s favour.

“It felt excellent to go out there and finish this week off as a team,” said Jacobs, who, along with eight other teams that competed in the WFG Continental Cup in Las Vegas, will be participating in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in February. “We had quite a bit of work still to do today, and to go out and play the way we did in all three of those final games was pretty clutch by everybody. It was a great feeling to win this thing. I know our team was really eager to go out there and show that we can play and bring back the same attitude we had the Trials. We did today. And we can’t wait for Sochi after playing the way we did tonight.”

In the mixed skins game, Team North America’s Jeff Stoughton, Emma Miskew, Mark Nichols and Lisa Weagle, all from Canada, defeated Team World’s David Murdoch (Scotland), Satsuki Fujisawa (Japan), Scott Andrews (Scotland) and Miyo Ichikawa (Japan) 4-1.

In women’s skins, Team North America’s Erika Brown, who will represent the USA in Sochi, beat Great Britain’s Olympic representative - Team World’s Eve Muirhead from Scotland, 3-2.

Afterwards Brown said: “It was great; it was so great to be on the ice with those guys getting a whole bunch of skins and us muddling through. That was a good finish. It’s a great boost for Sochi.”

Although not playing in the evening skins, Canada women’s Olympic representative, Jennifer Jones, said: “It feels amazing. We just played outstanding today and it just feels awesome. We’re absolutely excited about Sochi. We got everything and more we wanted to get out of this Continental Cup, and we’re feeling great. We’ve got some confidence, and it’s exactly what we wanted heading into the Olympics.”

After their defeat, Team World Captain, David Hay, said: “We underperformed this week. We didn’t perform as well as we should have done. The Canadian and American teams played very well. Some of our guys played very well at times but not well enough all the way through, so they were deserved winners.

“The next event (Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games) will be life changing for someone. There’s going to be some close contests out there and if the ice is as good as it was here there will be some outstanding games of curling.”

Team North America also won the $13,000 bonus cheque ($500 per member, including captain and coach) for collecting the most points in the skins games on Sunday.

The next major international curling event is the curling competition at the Olympic Winter Games 2014 in Sochi Russia, which begins on Monday January 10. For more about the Olympic curling competition: http://sochi2014.curlingevents.com

RESULTS

Session 10 (Skins):
Team World (Sigfridsson, Sweden) 3.5
Team North America (Jones, Canada) 1.5.

Team World (Mixed Team) 2,
Team North America (Mixed Team) 3

Team World (Edin, Sweden) 3,
Team North America (Shuster, USA) 2.

Session 11 (Skins):
Team World (Ulsrud, Norway) 1,
Team North America (Jacobs, Canada) 4.

Team World (Mixed Team) 1,
Team North America (Mixed Team) 4.

Team World (Muirhead, Scotland) 2,
Team North America (Brown, USA) 3.

FINAL TEAM SCORE
Team World 25, Team North America 35.

POINTS:
For the six mixed doubles and six singles matches, one point was awarded for each victory, one-half point if tied. There will be 18 team games (nine men’s and nine women’s) played, each worth one point for a win and a half-point for a tie. All games are eight ends and there are no extra ends.
Each skins game was worth five points in the overall standings.

TEAM LINE-UPS: http://www.worldcurling.org/team-north-america-announced-for-2014-wfg-continental-cup

PREVIOUS WINNERS
Team World (then Team Europe) won in 2003 (Thunder Bay, Canada), 2006 (Chilliwack), 2008 (Camrose) & 2012 (Langley).

North America won in 2002 (Regina), 2004 & 2007 (Medicine Hat) & 2011 (St Albert) & 2013 (Penticton).

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