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Team North America comes back to life at World Financial Group Continental Cup

Team North America stirred to life and started to climb out of the coffin Friday at the 2019 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Boyd Gaming.

After showing little in the way of a pulse in the first fours draws of the annual four-day curling competition between the best teams in the world, Team North America swept all three mixed doubles matches Friday afternoon in the Orleans Arena at Las Vegas, lifting its spirits and closing the gap on Team World to a much more respectable 11-4.

Team World had won two of the three morning mixed doubles matches, further placing their opponents under their boot, but the afternoon results have given the North Americans renewed hope that they aren’t dead yet.

They can creep even closer with a good performance tonight in three men’s competition matchups, each worth one point each.

Team North America was led Friday afternoon by the spirited combination of Matt Hamilton from the U.S. and Emma Miskew of Ottawa. They bolted out of the gate to a 6-0 lead after four ends, and cruised to an 8-4 win over the Scottish duo of Lauren Gray and Grant Hardie representing Team World.

“Going out there we had the right attitude,” said Hamilton, the pepperpot curler from the U.S. “We thought we were going to win the game and that mental attitude goes a long way when you’re playing.”

Hamilton said it was a “massive win” for Team North America.

“It kind of deflated them a touch,” he said. “They inflated a lot of air in their balloon and you can’t deflated it all in one draw, but maybe we can ding them for a couple more (points) tonight.”

Hamilton said he fed off the crowd in the arena.

“I like to have fun when I curl and it’s way more fun when the crowd is having fun and into it,” he said. “The fact that we have microphones and they can hear our banter it makes the crowd have a lot of fun, and when they’re having fun it fires me up. I make a lot of shots when I’m fired up.”

Team North American celebrates after a clean sweep during Draw 5 at the 2019 World Financial Group Continental Cup at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

North America also received good news from its other two teams on the ice. Taylor Anderson of the U.S. and Colton Flasch of Calgary hung up another point for the North Americans after defeating the Swiss duo of Melanie Barbezat and Valentin Tanner representing Team World 7-6, scoring the winning deuce in the eighth end.

And just to complete Team North America’s best performance this week, Jamie Sinclair and Chris Plys, playing in their home country, got the measure of Team World’s Sara McManus and Niklas Edin, a formidable combination from Sweden.

“It was important for us to get some momentum,” said Sinclair. “We got one win this morning and were building off of that. We’re getting a little more comfortable out there and a little bit more confident.”

The North Americans still trail by seven points but the format works in their favour. They may have lost the war so far, but can still win the battle because the big-point matches are coming up. The big payoff comes in the Skins format on closing Sunday when 30 points are up for grabs over six games, so the North Americans are very much alive and kicking.

“It will probably come down to the Skins,” said Hamilton, “and then it will be a wild show.”

Team World could do nothing but shrug off the triple losses.

“We were bound to lose some games,” said coach Fredrik Lindberg. “We had an amazing day yesterday. All in all we’re 8-4 in mixed doubles, so we’re pretty happy about that.”

Action resumes tonight at 6:30 p.m. (PST) with the men’s Team Play competition.

TSN/TSN2 and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the World Financial Group Continental Cup. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule. The event is also live in the United States on ESPN3.

The World Financial Group Continental Cup format pits Team North America against Team World in a series of Team Play, Mixed Doubles, Team Scramble, Mixed Team Play and Skins games. Teams earn points by winning games and the first to score 30.5 points is declared the World Financial Group Continental Cup champion.

For ticket information, as well as team lineups and the full event draw for the 2019 World Financial Group Continental Cup, go to https://www.curling.ca/2019continentalcup/

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at: https://www.curling.ca/?lang=fr