U.S. men drop third game

Feb. 17, 2010

American men fall to 0-3 at 2010 Olympic Winter Games

(VANCOUVER, British Columbia)  - The U.S. curling team is still seeking the elusive win after two days of competition at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games as John Shuster's American team suffered yet another last-rock heartbreak in an extra end Wednesday afternoon at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.

 "This is an amazing field. Did we expect to be 0-3? No way. But is it possible? Sure, this is a great field," Shuster said after the game.
After a slow start that quickly had them down 4-0, the Americans battled back and looked to have the game locked down heading into the 10th end of play with the lead and last rock advantage. But the universe wouldn't allow that as Shuster's stone came up short and forced an extra end with Switzerland's Ralph Stockli. Last night, Shuster suffered the opposite fate - he slid too deep in a last-rock loss to Norway.

Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Jason Smith (Cape Coral, Fla.), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.) and John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) now fall to 0-3 in the standings. They'll take the ice again at 9 a.m. PST tomorrow against Denmark (0-2) in the nine-game round robin.

"It's a little disappointing. We're not far from out of it, but we're close," Shuster said. "But I've seen this team do amazing things. We started 2-3 at the Trials and then won six in a row."

The top four teams after the round robin concludes next Thursday advance to the semifinals. Winless in three attempts, the Americans must get a win streak started.

"It's not going to be easy, obviously, but it's not insurmountable," Benton said.

The extra-end matchup featured three official measurements to award points, with the U.S. on the receiving end twice. Missed shots led Shuster to stare down three Swiss rocks as he got into the hack in the second end. Needing to draw full four-foot through a port, Shuster just touched one of Swiss rocks on the top of the four-foot, giving up a steal of one to fall behind 3-0.

"It's really hard to give up that many points at the start and expect to win. I'm happy that we battled back. I still have a lot of confidence in what we can do," Benton said.   

After the rocky start the Americans got on the scoreboard in the fourth end with a deuce after a measurement and saw the momentum swing in their favor over the next six ends as they built at 6-4 lead with steals in four straight ends.

With the lead going into the 10th end with the last-rock advantage, Shuster's draw was light and under-swept by his teammates, lengthening the game and stress level for the team.

In the extra end, USA opted to put a rock on the top of the four-foot early on, versus trying to chip Switzerland's guards out of the way, as they had done in an extra end against Norway the night before. Benton's second shot remained first count right up until Stockli threw the last rock for Switzerland, an angle raise takeout that cleared two USA counters out of the house. Stockli's shot was made possible when Shuster's first rock didn't curl enough at the finish. The gift to the Swiss really couldn't have been wrapped up any nicer, as Stockli could have erred in several different directions and still ended up with first count in the top of the four-foot.

Shuster could have played either a draw to the button, as in the 10th end, or the raise. He didn't hesitate in lining up the raise takeout, and took little time preparing for the shot once he settled into the hack. But, in shots reminiscent to those in early ends today, Shuster's rock ran a little wide and straight, and the raised rock just clipped Switzerland's counter instead of removing it fully from the house.

"I came out and threw the weight I wanted to throw. I thought I made it, even at the hogline. It never curled, just like my first shot in that end. If my first shot had curled six more inches, they wouldn't have been able to make that shot," Shuster said. "It's funny, it seems like every time we get to a game-winning shot, it's some sort of shot I haven't really thrown all game."

Live coverage of the curling action from Vancouver can be found on NBC's networks - USA, CNBC and MSNBC. Check your local listings to view the schedule. Live webstreaming of the action also can be found at

Game scores: China 8, Denmark 1; Great Britain 9, France 4; Sweden 6, Germany 3; Switzerland 7, USA 6 (extra end)

USA line score:
USA men        000 211 110 00    6
*Switzerland        211 000 001 11    7
*last rock in first end

Here is the two-day outlook for competition:
Thursday, Feb. 18 - 9 a.m. USA men v. Denmark, 2 p.m. USA women v. Denmark
Friday, Feb. 19 - 9 a.m. USA women v. Russia; 2 p.m. USA men v. France
Men's standings:
Canada         2-0
Sweden     2-0
Switzerland     2-0
France         1-1
Norway     1-1
China         1-1
Great Britain     1-1
Germany     1-2
Denmark     0-2
USA         0-3

Women's standings:
Canada         2-0
Germany     2-0
Sweden     2-0
Great Britain     1-0
Japan         1-1
China         0-1
Denmark     0-1
Russia         0-1
Switzerland     0-2
USA         0-2

USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, Nike, bitRail, Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky and is partnered with CurlingZone and Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC.


For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 608-338-9900 (cell), 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office)  

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