North America takes lead into final day of Cup

By Terry Kolesar | Jan. 18, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
Jan. 18, 2014

North America takes lead into final day of 2014 Continental Cup in Las Vegas

(LAS VEGAS) - John Shuster and the American men helped Team North America take a five-point lead into the final day of the 2014 World Financial Group Continental Cup after tonight's results at the Orleans Arena in front of 5,099 fans.

Total attendance for the event through three days stands at 41,590. The record for the Cup is 42,317 from 2004's event in Medicine Hat, Alberta. With two offensive-laden skins games on tap to end the event tomorrow, a new record attendance will be set.

Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Jeff Isaacson (Virginia, Minn.), Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.), and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) took Norway's Thomas Ulsrud's rink to eight ends of regulation and forced Team World into a 6-6 tie. Games ending in ties at the Cup result in the points being split. That half-point, added to the two wins by Canada's Jennifer Jones and Jeff Stoughton, pushed North America's total to 17.5 points. Team World sits at 12.5 with just the skins competition left on tap tomorrow. 

"Any time you can get points and add to the total, the closer we are to getting that trophy back ... that's a good thing," said Shuster, who is playing in his second Continental Cup. 

Shuster's team will face Team World's Niklas Edin in the men's skins match at 1 p.m. PT Sunday. The skins matches will be worth five points apiece. Erika Brown will lead the U.S. ladies against Team World's Eve Muirhead in the 6 p.m. women's skin event tomorrow night.

"We play very offensively so it will be fun to just go after it and not worry about big ends and just position some rocks for our teams to get at it," Shuster said about tomorrow's game. In skins format, teams with the last rock must score two points in an end in order to collect a "skin." 

Norway started the game with a deuce in the opening end. The American men duplicated that in the third end as Shuster drew into the rings for two points. Norway took two points right back despite a nice hit and roll that placed USA's stone on the button behind a center guard, which Ulsrud was able to chip out. 

The Americans bounced back with a deuce again in the fifth end as Shuster drew into the house to knot the game at 4-4. After Norway scored yet another deuce, a series of stones built up in a line up the center of the sheet in the seventh end. Shuster was able to slip his final rock through the crowded port and chip out a Norway stone to score a single point. 

Needing to steal, the U.S. used Isaacson's stone to freeze to the Norway rock in the four-foot sitting just behind the tee-line. Shuster then removed the Norway stone to put four U.S. stones in scoring position. Ulsrud came up shot trying to draw around the U.S. corner guard and left his stone in the top 12 foot. Shuster placed his final stone in the top eight-foot to block the path to the four-foot. Ulsrud was not able to draw in close enough to win the game and the U.S. stole a single point to force the tie.  

"I was really happy. We tapped one spot there and pretty much hit it," Shuster said about the final shot. "The guys did a phenomenal job judging it. I love having those guys in the front end." 

Canada's Jones rink defeated Team World's Satsuki Fujisawa rink, 6-5. Stoughton, who won the world title in 2011, defeated Niklas Edin's Swedish rink, 6-2. The game was broke open in the fifth end when Stoughton's rink made a double takeout, which was aided by cajoling from the fans, to score four points.

"It's a good thing we listened to the crowd," Stoughton said. "We were just looking at how we could jam the rock. We were going to play the double the whole time - we wanted to see which way we wanted to hit it to miss the back two or at least jam off it so it was fun. It was nice to let the crowd influence you a little bit."

In the women's skins games at 1 p.m., Team World's Margaretha Sigfridsson will play Team North America's Jennifer Jones (Canada). The mixed skins game will feature a Team North America squad skipped by Rachel Homan, with Jon Mead at third, Alison Kreviazuk at second and Reid Carruthers at lead, playing Team World's Tom Brewster, Emi Shimizu, Greg Drummond and Chiaki Matsumura.

In men's skins at 6 p.m., Team North America's Brad Jacobs (Canada) will play Team World's Thomas Ulsrud (Norway). The mixed skins lineups include Team North America's Jeff Stoughton, Emma Miskew, Mark Nichols and Lisa Weagle against Team World's David Murdoch, Satsuki Fujisawa, Scott Andrews and Miyo Ichikawa.

Line scores:
World (Ulsrud) 200 202 00 - 6 
North America (Shuster) 002 020 11 - 6 

World (Fujisawa) 020 020 10 - 5 
North America (Jones) 102 101 01 - 6 

World (Edin) 000 101 0x - 2 
North America (Stoughton) 101 040 0x - 6 
*last rock in first end

Competition World North America
Team-Round 1 2 1
Mixed Doubles, Rd1 1 2
Team-Round 2 0 3
Team-Round 3 1.5 1.5
Singles 5 1
Mixed Doubles, Rd2 0.5 2.5
Team-Round 4 1 2
Team-Round 5 .5 2.5
Skins-Round 1
Grand Total 12.5 17.5

The Cup is a joint collaboration of USA Curling, the World Curling Federation, and the Canadian Curling Association, and is being staged outside of Canada for the first time. Live scoring can be found at

NBC Sports Network will televise two games. The U.S. women's team competition from Saturday will air on NBCSN from 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. The U.S. men's team competition from Sunday, will air from 8-10 p.m. ET on Jan. 26. NBC Sports Live Extra - NBC Sports Group's live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets - will stream NBCSN's coverage at 

In addition, Universal Sports Network will televise two of Sunday's skins matches from the Cup. The first game will air from 5-7:30 p.m. ET on Monday, followed by the second skins match from 5-7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, BalancePlus and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, and is partnered with Hilton, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.

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For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).