Charley Thomas and Kalynn Park kicked off the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship with a dominant win over Hungary on Saturday in Sochi, Russia.
Playing against 2013 World Mixed Doubles champions Zsolt Kiss and Dorottya Palancsa, the Canadian duo from Calgary opened the scoring with a steal of three to set the tone for the match.
Hungary had a chance to even the score with a take-out in two, but Kiss’s shooter rolled out, leaving only two rocks in play.
Facing three Hungarian rocks around the four-foot, Park threw a perfect run-back to score one and get the Canadians out of trouble.
Hungary crept back into the game with a draw for three in the fifth end, but Park threw a big-weight take-out in six to score another deuce and take a 9-5 lead. A deuce by Hungary in seven wasn’t enough, and the game ended with a 9-7 win for Park and Thomas in their first game of the competition.
The two Canadians, supported by coach Jim Waite, outshot their Hungarian opponents: Park had an 88 per cent shooting average and Thomas shot an impressive 93 per cent. But both players felt there was still room for improvement.
“A lot of preparation went into this,” said Thomas after the match. “We’re pretty happy, but we have a little ways to go as far as performance goes.”
“We want to be a little bit sharper next game, and keep it going,” said Park.
On Sunday, the Canadian duo will play England’s Lana Watson and Alan Macdougall (1 a.m. ET) and Estonia’s Maile Moelder and Erkki Lill (10:45 a.m. ET).
The round-robin draws for the World Mixed Doubles will run through to April 23 before the playoffs get underway. There are 30 mixed doubles teams split into three pools of 10.
Selected games from the World Mixed Doubles Championship will be streamed live online. Go to the event website, wmdcc2015.curlingevents.com/, to see the games and broadcast schedule. Canada’s games against Spain (Monday, April 20, 5:30 a.m. ET) and Scotland (Tuesday, April 21, 7:30 a.m. ET) will be televised.