North America trailing the World after first day of Continental Cup

Team Koe skip Kevin Koe. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

LONDON, Ont. — Team North America’s Kevin Koe and his Calgary-based team beat Thomas Ulsrud of Team World 6-4 in one of three team matches Thursday night at the Continental Cup curling tournament.

Two of Canada’s best men’s teams, skipped by Koe and reigning Brier and world champion Brad Gushue, scored victories to prevent Team World from taking control of the four-day event.

"It felt good to get back out there, we haven’t had a game since the (Olympic) Trials, so it was nice to get out there and we played pretty well," said Koe. "For us it was important to play well. We’re not going to have a lot of games before we go (to the Olympics), we only have a couple of events, so that’s what we’re focusing on.

"It’s early but (Team North America) were down a little bit so it’s nice to come out and win this session tonight and hopefully we’ll come out tomorrow and continue playing well."

In the opening two draws, Team World won two-of-three games in each of the traditional team matches in the morning and the afternoon mixed doubles to take a 4-2 point lead. Team North America turned the tables in the evening to end the day trailing by a point, 5-4.

Nina Roth of the United States had a chance to pull Team America into a tie but her last-rock rubbed a guard and left Team World’s Satsuki Fujisawa of Japan to score one for a 7-5 win to take the point.

A total of 60 points are available over the four days of competition, which features traditional team games, mixed doubles games and skins games. The first team to reach 30.5 points is declared the winner.

Gushue stole a deuce in the third end for a 3-0 lead and rolled to a 7-2 win over Team World’s Peter De Cruz of Switzerland.

"It was a good day today. To get two wins is nice," said Gushue, who won his mixed doubles match earlier. "I had a good partner (in mixed doubles) in Lisa (Weagle) and my team played really good tonight. It was a bit of an easier one which is nice not to have it come down to last rock."