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Fenner’s team earns first win at Curling World Cup

JONKOPING, Sweden -- Bemidji curler Mark Fenner and the U.S. men secured their first win at the Curling World Cup as they got past Japan’s Masaki Iwai 6-4 Thursday in Jonkoping, Sweden.

Japan (0-2) had a chance for two points in the seventh end but missed its final shot and settled for a point as the game was tied heading into the final end. Fenner and his team of Alex Fenson (Bemidji), Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Korey Dropkin (Duluth) played a solid eighth end and made a takeout with the last stone for the win.

Fenner’s team will continue double round-robin play Friday by facing Switzerland and Sweden. The U.S. (1-1) sits in third place in Group A with three points, behind Switzerland’s five points and Sweden’s four.

After a perfect start to the tournament, Cory Christensen and the U.S. women fell to Japan’s Tori Koana rink 8-5 Thursday.

Christensen (Duluth) and teammates Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Jenna Martin (Wauwatosa, Wis.) and Madison Bear (Minneapolis) fell behind early on but made a draw for two points in the fifth end to try to get back into the game as Japan led 5-4. Japan ultimately went on seal the victory in the eighth.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. defeated Korea 6-5.

Christensen's team will continue double round robin play Friday against Scotland. The Americans (2-1) are tied for first place in Group B with Japan and Korea at six points.

Bemidji’s Pete Fenson coaches the U.S. women.

Team USA’s sibling duo of Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton picked up two key wins Thursday to gain ground in Group B.

The Hamiltons (both of McFarland, Wis.) trailed 5-4 against Russia but struck for five points to take the lead for good in an eventual 9-6 victory. Later in the day, the siblings stole the final end in a 6-5 win over China.

The U.S. is now 2-1 in the double round robin in Group B. The two wins earned the Americans six points in the overall standings where they are currently tied for first place with Russia.

The Hamiltons will battle Norway and Russia as group play continues Friday.

After the double round robin concludes Saturday, the winner of each group will advance to Sunday’s championship finals (mixed doubles, men’s and women’s).

The Olympic Channel and NBCSN are providing television coverage in the U.S. To view the full TV/webstream schedule, go to