N. America builds on upsets

CON GRIWKOWSKY, Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 6:42 PM ET

This has got to be a headscratcher for Team World coach Pal Trulsen.

Whatever magic the 2002 Olympic gold medallist had in guiding his team to a win at the 2008 Continental Cup in Camrose seems to have escaped.

It may be that holding this event in January may have given Team North America that much more time to fine-tune their games.

Or, as Carter Rycroft suggested on Day 1, Team Europe may have been surprised at how strong Team North America came out.

The bottom line is the North Americans have a commanding xx-xx points lead heading into Day 3 and it would take a minor miracle for The World to mount a comeback.

Only once in the history of this event, 2007 in Medicine Hat, has this event been decided on a Saturday. North America had a 76-28 lead going into Day 3 in that one.

David Murdoch got Team World’s only win in Friday’s first two sessions — in mixed doubles.

“It’s a bit of a reverse for us,” said Murdoch. “We need to do well in the Skins. Sometimes, it’s just not there. These guys (North America) have a real strong field this year. We’re just not making all the shots.

“They’re expected to win, really. Home favourites, you know.”

You could tell Ben Hebert had as much fun as he’s had on the ice in a long time, teaming up with Cheryl Bernard for a convincing mixed doubles win.

If Hebert, lead on the Olympic gold medal team, had his druthers, he wouldn’t mind if this one was decided before Sunday’s final-round skins game.

“I don’t need drama in the last game,” said Ben Hebert. “If we can beat them and run them out of rocks before that, I’m happy with that.

We’re not playing for a whole bunch of money here, so it’s all about pride for us.”

North America is getting the type of help they need, pulling upset wins.

American skip Pete Fenson helped out the cause with a huge win over Sweden’s Niklas Edin on Thursday night. When Erika Brown upended reigning world champ Andrea Schoepp Friday morning, the stage was set.

“That’s why we’re here,” said Fenson, who’s looking to be on the winning side for his first time ever. “That’s how we win the event.

Everybody tries to do as much as they can and win as many games as they can.

“It’s nice to have the team playing pretty well and we’ll see if we can keep ’er going.”

It’s a much better feeling for Blake MacDonald, whose team skipped by Kevin Koe are looking to turn around a sub-par performance in Camrose.

“We were down about this much last time,” said MacDonald, who teamed up with Jill Officer for an afternoon mixed doubles win a day after teammate Rycroft put up a W in the same event.

“We were one of those three losses (Thursday, in men’s team) so far.

We haven’t played together for a month, so it’s not good for our team.

We’re the type of team that needs to catch a roll and have some good things happening.”

In this event, history says that the team ahead after Day 2 has a good chance of winning it all,

“Let’s hope history repeats itself,” said MacDonald.

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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