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North America retakes lead over World at Continental Cup

The Canadian Press

1/17/2014 7:46:43 PM

LAS VEGAS -- A topsy-turvy Continental Cup took another twist Friday night.

Team North America, which suffered five defeats in the six singles contests in the afternoon, bounced back with two victories in team play and earned a tie in the other game, with all three games decided on skips' rocks in the eighth and final end.

By claiming 2.5 of the three available points, Team North America took an 11-10 lead in curling's version of the Ryder Cup. A total of 60 points are available, meaning the first team to 30.5 points will win the WFG Continental Cup.

Team North America skip Jeff Stoughton of Winnipeg made the shot of the evening, with a stunning in-off through a narrow port to score one in the sixth end against Team World's David Murdoch of Scotland. Stoughton carried the momentum into the eighth end, scoring a game-winning deuce for a 5-4 triumph.

"(Stoughton's shot) was huge," said vice-skip Jon Mead. "We had a good end going and had a couple just miss by nothing and to be in such a bad situation - it was a tough in-off without having to go off two rocks just to get there and he made a beauty and the place went nuts and it was a three-point swing, which was huge."

In other men's action, Team North America's Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., also scored two in the eighth end to pull out a 4-3 win over Team World's Thomas Ulsrud of Norway. A beautiful freeze by Jacobs' vice-skip Ryan Fry set the table, and Jacobs didn't need to throw his final rock.

In women's play, a big steal of one in the sixth end by Team North America's Erika Brown of Oakville, Ont., made the difference in a 3-3 tie with Team World's Eve Muirhead of Scotland. Muirhead had a shot at two for the win, but couldn't make the angle raise and settled for the game-tying single.

Team World won five of the six afternoon game, after the teams split the three available points in the early draw.