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Team World hanging tough at WFG Continental Cup

PENTICTON, B.C. — Team World stopped some of the bleeding on Saturday afternoon at the World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto.

The host Team North America had won five straight sessions at the South Okanagan Events Centre in curling’s version of the Ryder Cup, but Team World was able to win one game and tie another in women’s team encounters on Saturday to split the three available points.

Team North America skip Allison Pottinger, left, discusses a shot with vice-skip Nicole Joraanstad during Saturday play at the WFG Continental Cup in Penticton, B.C. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

That leaves Team North America with a still-healthy 17.5-9.5 lead in the overall points race; a total of 60 points are available, meaning the first team to 30.5 points will win the WFG Continental Cup, although Team World, as defending champion from last year’s event in Langley, B.C., would retain possession should the teams each win 30 points.

Most of those points will be available in Sunday’s six skins games, which are worth five points apiece.

Team World’s Mirjam Ott (CC Davos, Davos, Switzerland) was able to stop the losing spell with a 6-2 win over Team North America’s Heather Nedohin (Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.).

“We were under pressure and we fought back and made an important point,” said Ott after the victory. “We knew from the beginning that the skins games are very important. We still have a chance and we still will fight for the win. We’ll see at the end.”

Team North America’s Jennifer Jones (St. Vital CC, Winnipeg, Man.) answered back with a victory of her own, making a delicate come-around tapback to score two in the eighth end for a 5-4 win over Team World’s Eve Muirhead (Dunkeld CC, Dunkeld, Scotland). The winning shot made up for a narrow miss on her first delivery.

“Especially after I didn’t make my first one, I really wanted to make that one,” said Jones. “It was a big point for us. It was an awesome way to end the day. We always said that we didn’t want to lose any draws, and we’ve been on a huge roll.”

In the third women’s game, Team North America’s Allison Pottinger (St. Paul CC, St. Paul, Minn.) and Team World’s Margaretha Sigfridsson (Skellefteå CK, Skellefteå, Sweden) played to a 5-5 tie, as the Swedes came back from an early 4-0 deficit.

Pottinger said her team was looking forward to Sunday’s skins finales.

“Definitely; it’s a totally different mentality,” she said. “We played the last end (against Sigfridsson) to tie, and it’s really hard to play a game to tie. So it’ll be nice to just go into the next game where every end seems like the last end. It’s pretty clean and simple what you need to do, so that’s nice. We’re super excited. We like skins and we don’t get too many opportunities to play it, so it’ll be fun.”

The final men’s team session is scheduled for later on Saturday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. (all times PST).

Matchups for Sunday’s skins games were determined following the afternoon draw, as Team North America captain Kelley Law (Coquitlam, B.C.) and coach Rick Lang (Thunder Bay, Ont.), along with Team World captain David Hay (Perth, Scotland) and coach Peja Lindholm (Östersund, Sweden), set their lineups.

The intriguing matchup will be at 5 p.m. with Kevin Martin (Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, AB) skipping a mixed team that features Nedohin at third, Martin’s lead Ben Hebert playing second and Nedohin’s regular lead Laine Peters, taking on Muirhead, the four-time world junior women’s champion, with Greg Drummond (third for Tom Brewster, Curl Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland), Vicki Adams (Muirhead’s second) and Michael Goodfellow (Brewster’s lead).

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The six skins games (two mixed, two women’s and two men’s) on Sunday will offer a total of five points per game, with the first six ends of each game worth one-half point each, while the seventh and eighth ends are worth one point each. In skins, a count of at least two with last rock or a steal is required in order to win an end. Otherwise, the points carry over.

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 that generates the highest points total from the final three skins games will receive an additional $13,000 ($500 per player, plus captain and coach).

Each side has won four Continental Cups.

SATURDAY, Jan. 12
6:30 p.m. PST
Men’s Team
Sheet A: Team North America/Kevin Martin (Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.) vs. Team World/Thomas Ulsrud (Snarøen CC, Oslo, Norway)
Sheet B: Team North America/Heath McCormick (Ardsley CC, Ardsley-on-Hudson, N.Y.) vs. Team World/Tom Brewster (Club Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland)
Sheet C: Team North America/Glenn Howard (Coldwater & District CC, Coldwater, Ont.) vs. Team World/Niklas Edin (Karlstads CK, Karlstad, Sweden)

SUNDAY, Jan. 13
1 p.m. PST
Skins
Sheet A (Men): Team North America/Heath McCormick (Ardsley CC, Ardsley-on-Hudson, N.Y.) vs. Team World/Niklas Edin (Karlstads CK, Karlstad, Sweden)
Sheet B (Mixed, listed in order of skip, third, second, lead): Team North America/John Morris (all from the Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.), Beth Iskiw, Ben Hebert, Jessica Mair vs. Team World/Tom Brewster (Curl Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland), Anna Sloan (Dunkeld CC, Dunkeld, Scotland), Scott Andrews (Curl Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland), Claire Hamilton (Dunkeld CC, Dunkeld, Scotland)
Sheet C (Women): Team North America/Allison Pottinger (St. Paul CC, St. Paul, Minn.) vs. Team World/Margaretha Sigfridsson (Skellefteå CK, Skellefteå, Sweden)

5 p.m. PST
Skins
Sheet A (Women): Team North America/Jennifer Jones (St. Vital CC, Winnipeg, Man.) vs. Team World/Mirjam Ott (CC Davos, Davos, Switzerland)
Sheet B (Mixed, listed in order of skip, third, second, lead): Team North America/Kevin Martin (all from the Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, Alta.), Heather Nedohin, Marc Kennedy, Laine Peters vs. Team World/Eve Muirhead (Dunkeld CC, Dunkeld, Scotland), Greg Drummond (Curl Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland), Vicki Adams (Dunkeld CC, Dunkeld, Scotland), Michael Goodfellow (Curl Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland)
Sheet C (Men): Team North America/Glenn Howard (Coldwater & District CC, Coldwater, Ont.) vs. Team World/Thomas Ulsrud (Snarøen CC, Oslo, Norway)

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Other information:

• For ticket and other event information, visit www.curling.ca/championships/continentalcup.
• TSN, the exclusive television network for the Canadian Curling Association’s Season of Champions, and French language sports network RDS/RDS2 will provide complete coverage of this year’s World Financial Group Continental Cup, from the Opening draw (Women’s Team games) on Thursday morning through to and including the final Skins games on Sunday.
• The World Financial Group Continental Cup is a joint venture of the Canadian Curling Association, United States Curling Association and World Curling Federation.
• Media inquiries for other story ideas can be directed to:
Al Cameron
Director, Communication and Media Relations
Canadian Curling Association
403-463-5500
acameron@curling.ca
www.curling.ca