Team Chelsea Carey in lead pack midway through Home Hardware Canada Cup

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Team Alberta skip Chelsea Carey in draw six action at the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the Canadian Womens Curling Championships, Grande Praire, Alberta

Team Chelsea Carey knew the 2019 Home Hardware Canada Cup, presented by Pioneer would be a dogfight.

After knocking the previously unbeaten Lethbridge, Alta., Team Casey Scheidegger (substitute-skipped by Cheryl Bernard) 9-5, Calgary’s Carey fought her team back into the lead pack.

In other Draw 4 games Thursday morning at the Sobeys Arena: Brad Jacobs (2-1; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) beat Matt Dunstone (0-3; Regina) 7-5; Rachel Homan (2-1; Ottawa) took out Tracy Fleury (2-1; East St. Paul, Man.) 10-7 and Kerri Einarson (2-1; Gimli, Man.) beat Robyn Silvernagle (0-3, North Battleford, Sask.) 9-7 in an extra end.

Midway through the round-robin portion of the event, five women’s teams are tied for first place with 2-1 records – Carey, Homan, Fleury, Scheidegger and Einarson.

Team Carey has already earned Team Canada jackets after winning the Scotties Tournament of Hearts last season. Thursday morning’s win helped the team stay in contention to capture the first berth to the 2021 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings.

“It’s early in the week,” said Carey, who’s supported by vice-skip Sarah Wilkes, second Dana Ferguson, lead Rachel Brown and coach Dan Carey.

“Two losses isn’t out by any means. It wasn’t a do-or-die game at all but it’s a big one. You don’t want to rack up too many losses early in an event like this because you know all the teams are good. It’s good for us to bring them back to the pack.”

After starting out this cashspiel season strongly, the team is looking to regain some of its legs this week.

“We’ve got lots of year left yet but, yeah, we’d like to put together a string of wins,” said Carey.

Carey took a 5-1 lead after scoring three in the fourth end, maintaining control in the face of a fierce Team Scheidegger comeback. Team Scheidegger had alternate Susan O’Connor in the lineup in place of second Jessie Haughian, who took a rest. She’s expecting, with a March delivery date.

“You know they’re going to,” said Carey. “I missed an easy draw for two (in the sixth end). That was really the turning point in their comeback. If I make that draw, we’re completely in control. We still had hammer control. It got tighter. We expected that. They’re a good team. We knew they’d put the pressure on late. That was no surprise to us. They made a lot of shots and got a lot of deuces. That’s what they’re going to do.”

And, there’s always room to be sharper as the schedule enters its second half.

“I don’t think you’re ever at a place where you can’t play better,” said Carey. “Our goal is to keep getting better every game.”

Homan bounced back after losing to Carey in Wednesday’s Draw 2, bringing the previously undefeated Fleury back to the pack.

“It was a battle back and forth,” said Homan, who sealed the deal with a steal of two in the ninth end. “We’re throwing good. Teams are tough here. It’s going to go down to probably 10 ends in every game.”

The 2019 Home Hardware Canada Cup continues with draws Thursday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times MST).