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Team World picking up the pace at 2016 World Financial Group Continental Cup

LAS VEGAS — Any fears that Team World was feeling any ill effects from being swept in the Friday morning games at the 2016 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Boyd Gaming, have been quelled.

Quite spectacularly, in fact.

The visitors, seeking their first World Financial Group Continental Cup title since  2012, came back strongly on Friday night at Orleans Arena, recording a sweep of their own over Team North America.

That leaves Team World with a 10-8 lead through two days and filled with a confidence that had been lacking since its most recent victory four years ago in Langley, B.C.

Anna Sloan, left, and Eve Muirhead ponder their options during Friday night action at the World Financial Group Continental Cup. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Anna Sloan, left, and Eve Muirhead ponder their options during Friday night action at the World Financial Group Continental Cup. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

“What a night for Team World!” enthused Eve Muirhead, after skipping her Scottish team to a 6-2 win over Team North America’s Erika Brown. “It’s always good to get a couple points ahead, and that’s exactly what we did tonight. Three great wins; things are going well. It’s not often that we’re ahead at this time, so we just have to keep that going.”

Muirhead took control of her game against Brown’s U.S. team by scoring one in the first end, and stealing two more in the third.

Her Team World teammates on the outside sheets fed off the early energy she generated, as both Thomas Ulsrud and Niklas Edin (the 2014 and 2015 world men’s champions respectively) picked up wins over Canadian powerhouse teams.

Ulsrud scored four in the second end and cruised to a 7-5 triumph over Calgary’s Pat Simmons, while two sheets over, Edin scored the game’s only deuce in the fourth end and hung on for a 4-3 win over another Calgary team, skipped by Kevin Koe.

“Clean sweep for Team World — I like it!” said Ulsrud. “It’s hard to say what happened (after the morning-draw losses); I think our captain Andy Kapp said, hey, we need to get some team spirit going here. We had lunch in the Team World lounge, we had some good talks and good laughs going. You can feel the team spirit now; everyone is pumped.

Team North America's Matt Hamilton, left, and curling fan "Marilyn Monroe" check out the action on Friday night. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Team North America’s Matt Hamilton, left, and curling fan “Marilyn Monroe” check out the action on Friday night. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

“I’ve been a couple times on the other side, losing three, and it’s not a good feeling. We’ll enjoy it, but tomorrow is a new day — it’s going to be tough.”

The 2016 World Financial Group Continental Cup resumes on Saturday with three more draws — the final round of mixed doubles competition, at 9 a.m., followed by traditional team games at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The final mixed doubles draw will see a return to the thinking-time system, and each game will offer two points to the winner rather than the single point that was awarded in the first two draws. Additionally, the teams will be switched at the fourth-end break to bring in the six players from each team who haven’t played mixed doubles.

A total of 60 points are available over the four days of competition in traditional team, mixed doubles and skins competition, with the first team to surpass 30.5 points declared the winner.

Tickets for the 2016 World Financial Group Continental Cup can be purchased at www.curling.ca/2016continentalcup/tickets/ or by calling 1-888-234-2334.

For the complete schedule, go to: www.curling.ca/2016continentalcup/draw-schedule/

TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for the Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the World Financial Group Continental Cup.