Team World leads Team North America at Continental Cup

Eve Muirhead of Scotland at the 2015 Players' Championship in Toronto. (Anil Mungal)

LAS VEGAS — It will all come down to the final day at the 2016 Continental Cup.

Team World carries a narrow one-point lead over Team North America after Saturday’s evening draws, but there’s still 30 points up for grabs on Sunday that will determine the winner. Team World is ahead 15.5-14.5 in the race to 30.5 points.

Team World skip Thomas Ulsrud took a 5-3 win over Team North America’s John Shuster Saturday evening, giving his team confidence going into the final day after being blown out at the past two Continental Cups.

"Hey, it’s really tight," said Ulsrud.

"It’s been a blowout the last couple years, so Team World is fighting, still leading. We managed to have, I will say, a pretty lucky win at the end there (against Shuster). But winning was important — momentum is the key thing."

Norway’s Ulsrud got his win when Shuster was heavy on his draw to the four-foot, leaving the Team World side with the counting stone — the lone bright spot on an otherwise dismal evening that saw Team North America win twice.

Kevin Koe of Calgary rolled to a 7-2 thrashing of China’s Jialiang Zang, while Ottawa’s Rachel Homan made a draw to the four-foot in the eighth and final end to nail down a 5-3 win over reigning world women’s champ Alina Patz of Switzerland.

It was Homan’s final appearance of the Continental Cup as her team is heading home Sunday to prepare for the Ontario Scotties provincial championship, which begin Monday in Brampton, Ont.

"It’s too bad we can’t stay and help the team out and cheer them on, but we have provincials to go to and everybody understands that," said Homan. "We got a point for them today, and hopefully they can keep it rolling tomorrow."

Team North America has raised its game ever since a dramatic mixed doubles win in the Saturday morning draw by Jill Officer and Matt Hamilton that prevented a Team World sweep and cut the visitor’s overall lead to 14-10.

"We were in trouble this morning, it could have been 16-8, and then Jill and Matt had a really big doubles win and that got us some momentum for the rest of the day," said Team Koe vice-skip Marc Kennedy.

"It looks like we’re starting to play a little better, so it should be an interesting day tomorrow."

Sunday will feature six skins games worth five points each.

"Skins is one end at a time, so really, it’s 30 mini-games tomorrow," said Kennedy. "Hopefully we just make the right shots at the right time."

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