Sweden’s Niklas Edin has been through the hard times. Now, the decorated Team Europe skip is closing in for some good times at the OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup, presented by Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing.
Saturday morning at The Sports Centre at Western Fair District, Team Europe extended its lead over Team Canada with a win and a pair of ties for a commanding 15-6 lead after the mixed scramble format.
Edin, supported by third Sara McManus, second Rasmus Wranaa and lead Sofia Mabergs scored an eighth-end deuce after giving up a seventh-end steal to salvage a 4-4 tie with Calgary’ Kevin Koe, supported by third Emma Miskew, second Colton Flasch and lead Lisa Weagle.
In other games, Toronto’s John Epping tied Switzerland’s Peter de Cruz 6-6, while Scotland’s Bruce Mouat blasted Sherwood Park’s (Alberta) Brendan Bottcher 7-1.
“We got a few breaks,” said Edin. “Today, we were fortunate to win this draw. It kinda looked like they would win it 2-1. At the end, both teams had a chance to gain a point. A split would have been realistic I think, but winning this draw is huge thing – for momentum, especially.
Through seven sessions, Europe has dominated Team Canada, with only one split session, a sweep and five 2-1 wins.
“In this one, where it looked like they needed to win a session and it looked like they were going to do it, it turns around at the very last minute. That’s tough for them. I think they deserved to get a point back.”
Edin has been a perennial OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup participant, having suffered through a six-event losing streak before being on the winning side last year in Las Vegas. Now, he’s part of a Team Europe that has a chance to make history by being the first non-North American team to win back-to-back titles.
“Looking at the history, the events have been held mostly in Canada,” said Edin. “In the past, we’ve had a lot of mixes with countries, including from Asia and teams that don’t know each other very well and don’t speak the same language.
“The six straight losses, we could have won two – 2-4 would have been OK or well-deserved – 0-6 was really unfortunate for our side. We really felt we had to change something and do something better. That last two years, we’ve been doing better. There’s a lot of camaraderie and communication as well with only three countries, with both men’s and women’s from those countries. That evens the odds a bit.”
Holding a nine-point lead with four sessions left, including Sunday’s higher-valued skins games, puts Team Europe in a somewhat comfortable position.
With a total of 33 points (15 afternoon, 18 evening) up for grabs, Team Europe will need all the cushion it can get.
“It’s all about those skins,” said Edin. “Having a lead into those is very important. That puts us in the drivers’ seat. We can be a bit more conservative. We don’t have to go for the points as much as they do. We don’t have to take any risks at this point.
“It’s going to be a close race because of all the points in the last day.”
The 2020 OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup continues with draws today at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (all times EST).