Calgary's Chelsea Carey draws North America even at Continental Cup of Curling

LAS VEGAS — Calgary's Chelsea Carey has Team North America deadlocked with Team World after the first day of competition at the Continental Cup. 

Carey, with vice-skip Amy Nixon, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Laine Peters earned Team North America a much-needed point with an 8-6 win over Team World's Satsuki Fujisawa of Japan in Thursday evening's traditional team-game draw.

That capped the first day of action, and left Team North America and Team World in a tie, each team with 4.5 points. The first team to crack the 30.5-point barrier will claim the Continental Cup.

Carey had only watched the tournament — curling's version of the Ryder Cup — on television before this year and felt some emotion prior to throwing her first rock.

"I was way more nervous before that game than I've been for a long time, and more than I expected to be, too," said the reigning Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian women's champion.

"It's really fun to be part of a bigger team, but there's a lot more pressure on you that way, too. You're not just letting yourself down if you lose, but everybody and it puts us in a hole. So I felt a lot of pressure for the first little bit there, but we settled in and stayed in there. This whole bigger-team concept is great — I'm loving that."

Team Carey had a 4-0 lead through two ends, but the Japanese clawed back with a point in the third end and a steal of three in the fourth as Carey couldn't solve the frosty ice with her final shot.

But deuces in the sixth and eighth ends got the job done for Carey, and helped North America pull into the tie after trailing following the morning draw (2.5-0.5) and afternoon draw (3.5-2.5).

"That was huge," said Carey.

In other evening games, Team North America's Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg stole single points in the sixth and seventh ends and two more in the eighth for a 7-3 win over Team World's Rasmus Stjerne of Denmark. And Team World's Niklas Edin of Sweden doubled Team North America's Heath McCormick of the United States 6-3.

Carruthers was able to recover from a shaky first four ends to take over the game in the second half.

"I was definitely not making my shots early. The guys were actually playing really well, and I had some chances to put some pressure on them, but (Stjerne) was definitely outplaying me," said Carruthers. "But I think the second half of the game swung in our favour."

The tournament continues Friday with traditional team-game draws as well as mixed doubles.

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