CURLING: USA opens with win at 2008 World Men's Championship

April 05, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 5, 2008 USA opens with win over Norway at 2008 World Men's Championship (GRAND FORKS, N.D.) - Craig Brown and Team USA started the 2008 World Men's Curling Championship off on the right gripper as they defeated Norway, 8-6, in the opening draw Saturday afternoon. "It wasn't the cleanest game," Brown said. "We gotta couple breaks but we also made a couple of really great shots when we needed to. It's good to have a win." Brown (Madison, Wis.) and teammates Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), John Dunlop (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Pete Annis (Owatonna, Minn.) were anxious to get on the ice at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, and it showed as they got right to business in the first end with plenty of rocks in play forcing Norway's Thomas Ulsrud team to a takeout for one point to open the game. Norway looked poised to steal the second end after Ulsrud removed the U.S. shot stone hanging off the back of the four-foot. But, Brown converted a tough runback to remove the Norway shot stone for two. The Americans once again forced Norway to a single in the third end. They had a good end set up in the fourth until Norwegian vice skip Toger Nergard made a runback double takeout which resulted in the Americans blanking the end. The Americans got a good end set up in the fifth when Norway failed to remove a U.S. stone hidden behind a corner guard. This gave the U.S. the opportunity to set up a big end. After Ruohonen hid another U.S. stone behind a corner guard on the opposite side of the house, Brown drew in a third U.S. counter. After Ulsrud drew into the open eight-foot, Brown would only need to make an open takeout for three points to take a 5-2 lead at the break. Norway cut the American lead to one after Ulsrud made a takeout for two in the sixth. In trouble for the first 15 stones of the eighth end, Brown converted a crowd-pleasing runback double takeout for two. "It's fun, we've never had crowd support like this at any U.S. event," Brown said. Ulsrud kept the game close with a double takeout for two in the ninth end. Things got a little sticky for the Americans in the final end when Norway removed the U.S. shot stone with their final rock to put four in scoring position. But, Brown would make the takeout through two Norway stones for the win. "I would have preferred to have to draw. I was feeling confident in the ice. I knew it wasn't going to roll out, but I had to get through the hole," Brown said. The Americans have the night off but return to the ice at 9 a.m. CT Sunday to take on the Czech Republic, which upset 2006 world champion David Murdoch of Scotland, 7-5, in their worlds debut. Game scores: USA 8, Norway 6; France 7, China 2; Germany 9, Switzerland 8; Czech Republic 7, Scotland 5 USA line score: *Norway 101 002 002 0 6 USA 020 030 020 1 8 *last stone in first end Standings: Czech Republic 1-0 France 1-0 Germany 1-0 USA 1-0 Australia 0-0 Canada 0-0 Denmark 0-0 Sweden 0-0 China 0-1 Norway 0-1 Scotland 0-1 Switzerland 0-1 USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).