Road To The Olympic Games

Curling

Europe takes early lead over Canada at Continental Cup of curling

Team Europe won a pair of mixed doubles games Thursday afternoon to take a 4-2 lead on Team Canada at the Continental Cup.

Tournament underway in London, Ont.

Canada's Brendan Bottcher, seen above at the Champions Cup last April, fell 7-5 to Niklas Edin of Sweden on Thursday at the Continental Cup in London, Ont. Europe holds a 7-2 lead over Canada following after the first day of competition. (Matt Smith/Canadian Press)

Team Europe built a 7-2 lead over Team Canada with wins in all three draws on Thursday in the first day of competition at the Continental Cup.

Europe started all three games in the third draw with hammer and made sure to take advantage.

"Having hammer is super important," said Swiss skip Peter de Cruz about his team's evening sweep. "Nowadays in curling, it's key."

De Cruz had the hardest task on paper in his matchup against defending Brier champion Kevin Koe of Calgary.

Yet, it was de Cruz — throwing second rocks — who hung on to a 7-6 win. In other games, Scotland's Bruce Mouat took care of Toronto's John Epping 9-5 and Sweden's Anna Hasselborg doubled up defending Scotties champion Chelsea Carey of Calgary 6-3.

'Always satisfying' to beat Koe, says De Cruz

De Cruz paved the way to his win with a pair of deuces in the first three ends while holding Koe to a single, then stealing another pair in the fourth for a commanding 6-1 lead.

"It's always satisfying to beat him," said de Cruz. "We actually have a pretty good record against Kevin. I think we're pretty even in the last couple of years but he's super fierce, super good."

In the sixth end de Cruz chiselled out a near-frozen Koe rock.

New team names are being used at this year's event. Team World beat Team North America 34-26 last year in Las Vegas.

Team Europe/Team World has won the competition on five occasions since the event made its debut in 2002. The competition was not held in 2005, '09 and '10.

The first team to reach 30.5 points will win. The winning side receives $135,000 and the losing side gets $67,500.

Play continues through Sunday.

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