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Canadian men’s skips seeking improvement at OK Tire & BTK Tires Continental Cup

LONDON, Ont. — Friday’s final draw at the OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup, presented by Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing had a familiar feeling to it.

Just 24 hours earlier, Team Europe swept all its team play matches.

Skips switched their supporting casts in the scramble format, but the results were not much different before a packed house of 1,375 at The Sports Centre at Western Fair District.

Team Canada were unable to fully capitalize on the opening-end advantage with hammer.

Heading into Friday night’s draw, the home side’s points were racked up with a pair of Rachel Homan wins, a Tracy Fleury tie and a pair of mixed doubles victories.

Calgary’s Kevin Koe finally broke the Canadian men team’s shutout streak. Koe, third Darren Moulding, second Colton Flasch and lead Brent Laing salvaged a half-point in a 3-3 tie with Peter de Cruz of Switzerland.

In other games, Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg continued with her unblemished record with a decisive 7-1 win over Calgary’s Chelsea Carey and Scotland’s Bruce Mouat edged Toronto’s John Epping 4-3.

Those results left Team Europe firmly in the drivers’ seat halfway through the competition, with a 13-5 lead.

Mouat gets the sense that Europe’s team spirit is continuing to win the day.

“We’re enjoying ourselves and we’ve got really strong teams with Peter and his guys and Nik (Edin of Sweden),” said Mouat, whose regular second Bobby Lammie was propped up by Swiss third Sven Michel and lead Valentin Tanner for Friday night’s match. 

“With those guys, it’s really easy to get on with them and it’s a really good team dynamic. I can’t really tell you why it’s been happening. They’re three great skips themselves. We’ve really stuck together as a team. Playing scramble there, playing with the Swiss guys was something different for us.”

Mouat had a bit of a harder time than he did in Thursday night’s draw, when he scored a 9-5 win over Epping.

“It’s fun playing John,” said Mouat. “Him and I are similar in tactics with loads of stones in play and it’s usually a big score.”

During this game, Mouat had to scramble hard after falling behind 3-1 after four ends. But the Scot pitched a shutout the rest of the way, scoring his dramatic win with steals in the final two ends.

“That might hurt a bit, but there was a lot of great shots from both teams,” said Mouat. “That’s what happens when people are playing every shot perfect. You’re going to get either a very big score or a steal.”

Mouat took advantage of every miscue after the half-time break as the composure of his two wins evolved entirely differently.

“His team was probably struggling last night a bit and John was making some incredible shots just to keep them in it,” said Mouat. “This time, maybe it was the opposite. His team was playing great and John was making a lot of good shots.”

Team Canada’s male skips will get a chance to get their game going in Saturday morning’s mixed scramble. 

The 2020 OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup continues with draws Saturday at 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (all times EST).

TSN/TSN2 and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule. 

The OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup format pits Team Canada against Team Europe in a series of team play, mixed doubles, scrambles and skins games. Teams earn points by winning games and the first to score 30.5 points is declared the OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup champion.

For ticket information, as well as team lineups, go to https://www.curling.ca/2020continentalcup/

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

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