LONDON, Ont. — Title denied.
Team Canada did what they had to do in the second-last draw of the OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup, presented by Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing.
They made sure that Sunday night’s draw at The Sports Centre at Western Fair District would remain relevant.
Heading into the final day of competition, Team Europe leads 26.5-15.5. Europe needs four of an available 18 points to win its first-ever back-to-back title, while Canada can win its seventh title in the past eight years if it can grab 15 points.
Over the years, the final-day skins format proved to be Team Canada’s strength and Sunday afternoon’s session proved to be no exception.
Toronto’s John Epping led the charge, scoring a 4.5-0.5 decision against Scotland’s Bruce Mouat.
In other games, Winnipeg’s B.J. Neufeld upended Sweden’s Niklas Edin 3.5-1.5, while Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni beat Calgary’s Chelsea Carey 4-1.
With Epping leading the way, it was Team Canada’s first session win this week, winning two of three games.
“Just to give us a chance tonight … we were so far behind going into today, we thought we had to throw everything at them just to get to tonight,” said Epping, supported by third Ryan Fry, second Mathew Camm and lead Brent Laing. “Because we were so far behind, it was a bit of a loose feel. I don’t think the nerves were there.”
“You don’t have to play ultra, ultra aggressive. You can score a deuce in the final end and it’s worth a lot of points. That can happen again tonight where you get a couple of carryovers and maybe get a big shot for a bunch of skins.”
With a win in his final appearance as a rookie skip at the event, Epping has embraced the entire experience of the week.
“This is amazing,” said Epping. “This is so cool. I’m having so much fun. Having a chance to represent your country at an event with the crowd, being from Ontario, being in London, this has been just a special week.
“Just to help the team out. That’s all I wanted to do all week and put some points on the board for Canada. To do it here, it’s so much fun. It’s one of the best experiences of my life.”
Even though he struggled out of the gate, posting just a tie, Epping can go home with a huge smile on his face as a winner in his final appearance this week.
Epping made a superb sixth-end draw to corner freeze on Mouat’s rock, setting up a steal worth 1.5 points, cashing a two-end carryover.
“There was a lot of skins on the line there,” Epping said. “We lose that one, then we put ourselves into an even bigger hole.”
“When it came down to the last one, there was a bit of adrenaline there,” Epping said. “This is why we play the sport. I was a little nervous half-way down the sheet (on his last shot), luckily we had Lainger on it and he’s one of the best sweepers in the world. He helped me out on that one, for sure.”
The 2020 OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup concludes with a six-point skins draw Sunday at 7 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