VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It was all Canada tonight as Team USA fell behind early and never recovered in a 10-5 loss tonight in the round robin at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.
Canada's Jim Armstrong rink dominated Augusto Perez and the American team from the first rock thrown, keeping the U.S. chasing for eight ends of play.
"We struggled with the broom more than anything," said Perez, the father of twins who is a two-time world champion in canoe/kayak. "I think were expecting faster ice and then it's slower, and we don't adjust fast enough."
With the loss, Perez (East Syracuse, N.Y.) and teammates Patrick McDonald (Orangevale, Calif.), James Pierce (North Syracuse, N.Y.), Jacqui Kapinowski (Point Pleasant, N.J.) and James Joseph (New Hartford, N.Y.) finish the day with a 1-1 record.
"It's early in the event. I think we did our best tonight," said Kapinowski , who also excels at wheelchair racing and has completed 52 marathons throughout her career.
What looked to be an ugly start for the Americans turned out to be a two-point swing in favor of the U.S. when Armstrong missed a takeout with his last stone and Perez capitalized to put two points on the scoreboard. But, Canada would keep them off it for three ends afterward.
Canada piled the stones in the rings in the second end as the U.S. struggled to remove them, eventually giving Armstrong a takeout for four points. Canada carried the momentum into the third, pressuring the Americans with lots of rocks in play once again. Perez was unable to convert the raise takeout, giving up a steal of two points to fall behind 6-2.
The Americans were in trouble again in the fourth end as Perez came up short drawing around the center guards into the rings, resulting in an additional steal of two. Joseph came into the game to start the second half but the U.S. could only manage a single in the fifth end. After giving Canada two more in the sixth, the U.S. played the seventh end in earnest, trying to come up with an answer that was as difficult to figure out as why Pi equals 3.14. The Americans had a chance at three but Perez's draw had just a bit too much mustard on it, slipping through the back of the house.
Trailing 10-5 without the last rock, USA wasn't able to get a big end set up and conceded the match as they were mathematically eliminated.
"If we're going to lose one, let's do it now," Perez said about getting the bad game out of their system now as opposed to during the playoffs. "Tomorrow is another day."
Team USA returns to the ice at 12:30 PST tomorrow to take on Germany (1-0).
The official site of the U.S. Paralympic Team, www.usparalympics.org, will also offer daily video and news highlights of the competition from Vancouver. Also check out www.paralympic.tv for on demand feeds.
USA line score:
Canada 042 202 0x 10
*USA 200 010 2x 5
*last stone in first end
Game scores: Canada 10, USA 5; Japan 9, Italy 6; Korea 8, Sweden 4; Norway 7, Great Britain 5
Great Britain 0-2
Live scoring from the event will be http://www.vancouver2010.com/paralympic-games/wheelchair-curling/schedule-and-results/ or visit www.usacurl.org.