Team North America extends lead at WFG Continental Cup

The second day of play at the World Financial Group Continental Cup in St Albert, Canada saw Team North America notch up another 8 wins in team and mixed doubles games to make a total of 90 points. Team World only mustered one win to take their score to 18.

"Points-wise it's not too significant when you look at all the points left on the board," said North American coach Rick Lang earlier, "but, I think, they (World) might be feeling a little desperate."

The round of men's team games in the evening all went North America's way: with Canada's Kevin Koe beating Scotland's David Murdoch 6-3 and Canada's Kevin Martin winning 9-4 against Sweden's Niklas Edin. It was a 9-4 score too for the US's Pete Fenson against Norway's Thomas Ulsrud.

"Right now everyone in Team World is playing under their standard," said Ulsrud after the game. "We talked before this late draw - we've got to stop the bleeding."

Looking ahead to the skin's games that start on Saturday and count for a total of 260 points Ulsrud added: "we'll get a good night's sleep and see what happens tomorrow - the good thing is that we are playing for a lot of points. In skins you can go all out. You can lose 2 or 4 that doesn't matter. I guess we have to go all out."

In the afternoon's Mixed Doubles round, Team North America collected another 12 points with two wins and Team World picked up their only win of the day. The Canadian duo Blake MacDonald and Jill Officer pulled off a 6-5 win in a tight game against Ralph Stöckli and Mirjam Ott from Switzerland.

"We had the shot right there in the 7th end," said Stöckli afterwards. "If we had made that we were right back there. That's how close it is out there, but somehow we don't manage to make the shots."
Ben Hebert and Cheryl Bernard, the other Canadian line up in this round, had the upper hand in their game against Sweden's Sebastian Kraupp and Germany's Andrea Schöpp and won 6-3.
Speaking after the game, Bernard credited her younger partner Hebert. "I didn't want to play in the event," she said. "I was totally out of my element. But Ben was a great sport about it. He did it all. I just held the broom and made a couple of shots."
The only win for Team World in this round was produce by Scotland's David Murdoch and Switzerland's Carmen Schäfer. They beat the American duo Pete Fenson and Erika Brown 9-4.

Describing Team World's luck after the game Murdoch said "it's just up and down. These guys are playing really well. They've got a really strong field out this year. Hopefully we'll get back into it."

In the morning's women's team games North America had a clean sweep winning all three games and picking up 18 points. Canada's Cheryl Bernard beat Switzerland's Mirjam Ott 7-5. Jennifer Jones from Canada beat China's Bingyu Wang 10-6 and Erika Brown's team from the US beat Germany's Andrea Schöpp 7-5.

The 2011 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto, brings together twelve of the best curling teams in the world (six representing Team World, six representing Team North America).

A total of 400 points is available from four types of curling competition - Team Games (72 points), Mixed Doubles (36 points), Singles (32 points) and Skins (260 points). Each segment awards points for wins (or ties). The first side to reach 201 points is declared the winner.

North America won the inaugural Continental Cup in 2002 (in Regina, Canada), in 2004 and 2007 (both in Medicine Hat, Canada). Team World (then known as Team Europe) won in 2003 (in Thunder Bay, Canada), 2006 (in Chilliwack, Canada) and 2008 (in Camrose, Canada).

In Canada live coverage of the event can be seen on TSN and in collaboration with the World Curling Federation, this coverage can be seen by the rest of the world on the WCF website:
http://www.worldcurling.org/continental-cup-2011-web-coverage

Results are here:
http://www.seasonofchampions.ca/curlcast_app/2008/continentalcup/curlcastapp.asp?eventFolder=ccup&type=2

The World Financial Group Continental Cup is a joint venture between the Canadian Curling Association, World Curling Federation and United States Curling Association.