Las Vegas, USA
January 18, 2014
Team North America lead Team World by five points going into the final day of play at the World Financial Group Continental Cup 2014 being held in the Orleans Hotel and Casino Arena in Las Vegas, USA.
A total of 60 points are available during this competition, meaning that the first side to earn more than 30 points will be declared the champion tomorrow.
Nearly 15,000 spectators filed through the doors of the Orleans Arena today to witness one session of Mixed Doubles and two sessions of traditional team games, with one point awarded for each win, and half a point for each tied game.
In the morning Mixed Doubles session, Team North America added more points to their cause as they picked up two victories from three games to take a 13-11 lead
Team North America’s Ryan Fry and Emma Miskew from Canada defeated Team World’s Greg Drummond and Anna Sloan from Scotland 10-4, by in large thanks to scores of three points in the first and third ends.
The USA’s John Shuster and Jessica Schultz also recorded a win as they defeated Team World’s Thomas Ulsrud (Norway) and Miyo Ichikawa (Japan) 10-2, stealing deuces in the first, second, sixth and seventh ends.
Afterwards Schultz said: “Luckily John and I both got our draw weight pretty quickly and we were able to come around and make the freezes that we needed to … and that’s big.”
Her Mixed Doubles partner, John Shuster, added: “You get a good shot there to start and you get the momentum. Every shot during the end you just have to make sure you maintain that good position. We did a pretty good job with that. She (Schultz) got us great starts and I tried not to screw it up.”
Scotland’s David Murdoch and Eve Muirhead picked up the only points for Team World in this session as they won 7-2 against Team North America’s E.J. Harnden and Rachel Homan from Canada.
The Scottish duo of Muirhead and Murdoch, stole single points in the first three ends, then secured the win with a steal of two points in the seventh end.
“It’s a lot of fun out there,” said Muirhead. “It’s a lot different to traditional curling — you can give up threes, you can be up and give it away really easily. I got to play with Dave, which was extra special and getting to mix with the other genders is also good.”
Her Mixed Doubles partner, David Murdoch, added: “Each draw is a little seesaw just now, one way or another, and you just have to hang in there up to the skins. The skins will obviously decide it, so if we’re tight going into that we like our chances.”
Team World hit back in the afternoon team games as they picked up two half points from ties in games that they thought they would lose.
Team World stole points in the eighth and final ends of two of their games to salvage what could turn out to be two crucial half-points against Team North America.
Team World’s Margaretha Sigfridsson from Sweden drew for three points to tie their game 7-7 against Team North America’s Erika Brown after the US skip missed her last shot of the game, wrecking on a guard.
Following the game Sigfridsson’s fourth player Maria Prytz said: “We struggled a little bit in the fourth end. I missed a draw and they took a four (points) which didn’t end well. We had to fight back and there became an opportunity in the eighth end and we took it. It feels like we won, so it feels good.”
Team North America’s Brad Jacobs from Canada also had to settle for a tie as he rolled too far on his last stone of the game to give Team World’s David Murdoch a steal of one point to end the game 4-4.
After securing the tie Murdoch’s third, Tom Brewster, said: “Every half point does count. Every point or half point you get on the board is one step closer to the total. There was two good comebacks there – the two half-points feel almost like two wins to be honest.”
Team World’s Eve Muirhead could have secured a third tie but missed an open hit-and-roll attempt to score a two points in the eighth end, and wound up losing 5-4 to Team North America’s Rachel Homan from Canada.
After the game, Homan said: “Thankfully we got that win. Some disasters just happened over there (on the other sheets). It’s tough out here – there’s so many good teams. One little shot here or there makes a huge difference and there’s points all over the place.”
With the two ties and a win for Team North America, the scores after the afternoon team games were Team World 12, Team North America 15.
In the evening, Team North America enhanced their lead with two victories and one tie in the team games, earning another two and a half points for their cause.
With those results, Team North America opened up a five point lead in the overall standings ahead of tomorrow’s final games.
Team North America’s Jeff Stoughton from Canada got the crowd of nearly 5,000 spectators on their feet as he made a double-takeout to score four points in the fifth end on his way to a 6-2 win over reigning world champions Team Edin from Sweden.
After their victory, Stoughton said: “It’s a good thing we listened to the crowd. We were just looking at how we could jam the rock. We were going to play the double the whole time – we wanted to see which way we wanted to hit it to miss the back two or at least jam off it so it was fun. It was nice to let the crowd influence you a little bit.
“Going down the sheet, with everyone knowing we were going for it, then to make it, the crowd goes crazy and it’s a great feeling – it’s something else.”
On the next sheet, Team North America’s Jennifer Jones (Canada) made a double takeout with her last rock of the game for a 6-5 win over Team World’s Satsuki Fujisawa (Japan).
Following their dramatic win, third on Jennifer Jones team, Kaitlyn Lawes, said: “I wouldn’t want anyone else throwing that rock. She had a fantastic game. She had draw weight in her pocket, she was making the big shots when we needed to come through – when I would miss.”
In the other Saturday night game, Team North America’s John Shuster from the USA stole one point in the eighth and final end when Team World’s Thomas Ulsrud (Norway) was tight with his last stone to tie the game 6-6 and earn half a point for both sides.
“Any time you can get points and add to the total the closer we are to getting that trophy back is a good thing,” said Shuster, whose last stone in the eighth end forced Ulsrud into the difficult draw. “I was really happy. We tapped one spot there and pretty much hit it. The guys did a phenomenal job judging it. I love having those guys in the front end.”
On Sunday, the skins games are set for 1pm and 6pm (all Pacific Standard Time), and the match-ups were decided late Saturday afternoon.
In the women’s skins games, Team World’s Sigfridsson will play Team North America’s Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg) at 1 pm, while at 6 pm, Team World’s Muirhead will play Team North America’s Brown.
In men’s skins, at 1pm it’s Team World’s Niklas Edin (Sweden) against Team North America’s John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.), while at 6 pm, Team North America’s Jacobs will play Team World’s Thomas Ulsrud (Norway).
The mixed skins at 1pm features a Team North America squad skipped by Homan, with Jon Mead at third, Alison Kreviazuk at second and Reid Carruthers at lead, playing Team World’s Brewster, Emi Shimizu, Greg Drummond and Chiaki Matsumura.
The 6pm mixed skins lineups: Team North America’s Jeff Stoughton, Emma Miskew, Mark Nichols and Lisa Weagle against Team World’s David Murdoch, Satsuki Fujisawa, Scott Andrews and Miyo Ichikawa.
Each skins game is worth five points in the overall standings.
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.
The winning side receives $52,000 Cdn ($2,000 per member, including captain and coach), while the losing side gets $26,000 ($1,000 per member, including captain and coach). As well, the side which generates the highest points total from the six Skins games will receive an additional $13,000 ($500 per player, plus captain and coach).
For ticket and other event information, visit: www.curling.ca/2014continentalcup-en/
For the complete event schedule, go to: www.curling.ca/2014continentalcup-en/draw-schedule/
For more about the Olympic curling competition: http://sochi2014.curlingevents.com/
In Canada, TSN (RDS2 in French), will broadcast complete live coverage of the event. In the United States, NBCSN will air extended highlight coverage on Sunday 19 January from 1:30-3:30 PM ET and on Sunday 26 January from 8:00-10:00 PM ET. Live coverage is also be available on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel World Curling TV. www.youtube.com/user/WorldCurlingTV