January 10, LONDON, Ont. — It was the easiest lineup decision Team Europe’s coaches likely had to make at the OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup, presented by Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing.
Selecting Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg and Oskar Eriksson, who won the 2019 world mixed doubles title in Stavanger, Norway, as mixed doubles partners was a simple decision to make. The pair’s only international loss during past two years was at the 2019 event to Canada’s Jocelyn Peterman and Brett Gallant, who they edged in the final. Otherwise, they’ve been golden.
That streak continued on Friday when the pair took care of Team Canada’s duo, Tracy Fleury (Sudbury, Ont.) and Brent Laing (Shanty Bay, Ont.), taking four in the first end en route to a 9-4 win.
Friday afternoon’s draw at The Sports Centre at Western Fair District featured the second of three straight mixed doubles draws occurring in the afternoons.
In other games, Edmonton duo Dana Ferguson and Brendan Bottcher defeated Swiss pair Silvana Tirinzoni and Benoit Schwarz 5-3, while Scotland’s Jennifer Dodds and Bruce Mouat defeated Canada’s Chelsea Carey (Calgary) and Mat Camm (Toronto) 10-4.
Winning two of three matches for the fourth time in five draws extended Team Europe’s lead to 10.5-4.5.
“We’re having tons of fun, playing really well and we’re really working,” said mom-to-be Hasselborg. “We’re working good as a team. It helps team dynamics with the mix we have — two Swedish teams, two Swiss teams and two Scottish teams. We all get along real well. We’re good friends on and off the ice.”
When the chips have been down the Swedish duo have come through, following their mixed doubles win last year at the event in Las Vegas.
“We think of curling the same way and we have a lot of fun,” said Hasselborg. “We’ve known each other for a long, long time. We’re having a lot of fun and I think that is key for our team dynamics.”
In an unpredictable game like mixed doubles where anything can happen, grabbing an early four-point lead gave an already dominant team the cushion it needed against the first-time Canadian duo.
“Coming out with a four in the first end is always comfortable,” said Hasselborg. “But it is mixed doubles. We know we can lose a big end right back, so you have to stay on top of the game and play good shots all the way because one shot could change the whole end, as we saw in this game. It’s always good to come out with the first points and it’s great if it’s in the first end.”
Eriksson can feel the momentum building as Team Europe continues to extends its cushion for what could be a first-ever title repeat by teams outside of North America .
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Eriksson said. “We have six good teams, so we’re just trying to be as good as we were last year and hopefully can defend our title. Every time we have the opportunity, we really enjoy it.”
The 2020 OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup continues with a draw at 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