Team World continued to tighten the screws on Team North America at the 2019 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Boyd Gaming, after another scintillating performance in the third draw Thursday night.
The teams have played nine games opening day at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and Team World has won them all.
Yes, them all.
Nobody saw that coming, especially since Team World hasn’t won this competition since 2012. But it’s there in black and white in the standings: Team World 9, Team North America zip.
All games played Thursday were worth one point in the standings and the points payoff gets a bit richer as the event moves along, which is the only bit of flotsam Team North America has to cling to. But it’s been so one-sided so far that the North American side has to hope they can turn things around, and quickly.
Team World got a big day from Anna Hasselborg of Stockholm, Sweden, the 2018 Olympic gold-medal winner. She teamed with country-mate Oskar Eriksson to win a mixed doubles event in the afternoon, then followed it up by skipping her team to a convincing 8-3 win in the evening over North America’s Rachel Homan of Ottawa.
Hasselborg took control in the fourth end when she made a spectacular double for three to grab a 5-1 lead after it looked like Homan was primed for a steal.
Hasselborg said it was amazing to think that one team could sweep the other in one day.
“We said before this draw what was better than six-and-oh and we said nine-and-oh,” said Hasselborg. “We did that and we’re super happy and everyone is playing great and having tons of fun. We’ll have some celebration tonight in our players lounge.”
Hasselborg didn’t want to comment on the play of the North American side, saying only that they will be coming hard at them on Friday.
“It’s going to be a battle all the way through,” she said.
Team World completed the clean sweep after Eve Muirhead’s Scottish team edged Jennifer Jones and her Winnipeg foursome 5-3, and Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland defeated Jamie Sinclair’s U.S. crew 6-5.
Team North America looked poised to get points on the board after Jones jumped ahead 2-1 after four, but Muirhead battled back to go up 3-2 after six ends. Jones, with the hammer in the seventh, elected to try and chip her rock out and for a blank end and carry the advantage into the eighth and final end. However, she flashed her final shot to score one.
Muirhead made a nice tapback through a port to count two in the final end to secure the victory.
“To be nine-nil up feels great,” said Muirhead. “But there’s a long way to go.”
Muirhead agreed with Jones’ decision in the seventh end to blank.
“I wasn’t surprised when I saw it, but I imagine people in the crowd might have been surprised because they’re not used to teams taking out their own rocks,” she said.
Team North America will lick their wounds, said coach Jeff Stoughton, and come back Friday and play better.
“We just need to play better,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. They have just outplayed us. I thought we were going to get on the board this evening, but it just didn’t work out. But tomorrow is another day and there’s still a lot of points on the table.”
There are two more rounds of mixed doubles Friday, followed by men’s competition in the evening.
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