It’s hard to argue against Canada’s curling dominance today after what transpired at the 2015 World Financial Group Continental Cup.
Team Canada completely demolished Team Europe at Markin MacPhail Centre by a 42-18 count.
The cup was secured on Mike McEwen’s steal of a point from Niklas Edin in the seventh end of Sunday afternoon’s skins draw, which ended with Canada up whopping 32.5-12.5. They needed 30.5 to win and didn’t need any of the 15 points that were available in the final draw.
This was the first year since the Continental Cup was first held in 2002 that Canada went solo against Europe. The Canadian Curling Association took it over from the World Curling Federation, thus eliminating the United States from the competition.
A whole-bunch of red warm-up jackets leaped over the boards onto the ice when Edin wrecked on a last-rock draw through a port.
“There’s those huge LED signs and they’ve been ragging on us, Do Not Jump Over These,” said McEwen. “So it was kind of cool that nobody listened.”
Canada played extremely well and the Europeans not so much, said Canadian coach Rick Lang.
“We’ve had outstanding performances from all six of our teams, no one has struggled and they really didn’t let up,” he said.
“The ice has been fantastic and everyone caught on to it and to be honest with you the European team underperformed. They didn’t play nearly as well as they can.”
The win was worth $52,000 to the Canadians — $2,000 per player plus captain Randy Ferbey and coach Lang. The Europeans split $26,000. As well, Canada won an additional $13,000 for getting the most skins overall and a $12,000 bonus for winning the evening draw for $77,000 in total.
Cups of past year were much closer. The margins of victory the past two years when it was played using the current scoring format were a respectable 35-25 in favour of North America in Las Vegas in 2014 and 37-23 for North America in Penticton, B.C., in 2013.
“Every draw (this week) they got one point and we got two kind of thing,” said McEwen.
“We just kept on them. We haven’t really had a draw where too many things went wrong.”
The Continental Cup will return to Las Vegas in 2016 and the Americans will be back in the game.
Canada dominated the team games in Calgary winning 14 of 18. That strong showing carried them to a 22-8 advantage entering the final day, where 30 points were up for grabs in the skins.
Canada overpowered Europe again in the first draw of the skins, 10.5 to 4.5. Rachel Homan and McEwen each won 3.5 points out of five possible from Margeretha Sigfrudsson and Edin respectively, while Pat Simmons skipped a mixed team of Lori Olson-Johns, Carter Rycroft and Rachelle Brown that also took 3.5 from the Europeans, skipped by Torger Nergard.
In Sunday’s late draw Brad Jacobs took four of five skins from David Murdoch; Jennifer Jones split five skins with Eve Murdoch. In mixed, John Morris, Val Sweeting, Nolan Thiessen and Dana Ferguson of Canada won three skins against Thomas Ulsrud, Margarita Fomina, Christoffer Svae and Ekaterina Galkina.
“Skins is one of those things where it’s going to look ugly a lot of the time and you get your rocks shuffled around. But really it boils down to making your last shot,” said Simmons.
Simmons plays third for Morris’s Calgary-based that will serve as Team Canada at the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary from Feb. 28-March 8.
Continental Cup teams skipped by Morris, McEwen, Brad Jacobs Val Sweeting, Jennifer Jones and Homan will remain in Alberta this weekend to play in the Pinty’s Skins Game in Banff from Friday through Sunday.
Calgary’s Kevin Koe and Edmonton’s Chelea Carey round out the Banff field.