CURLING: Minnesota 1 boys clinch playoff berth at 2008 U.S. Juniors

Feb. 07, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 7, 2008 Minnesota 1 boys clinch playoff berth at 2008 Junior Nationals (PORTAGE, Wis.) - Chris Plys and his Minnesota 1 team took one step closer to defending their junior national championship title after securing a playoff berth at the 2008 USA Curling Junior National Championships in Portage, Wis. Plys (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Aanders Brorson (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Perushek (Eveleth, Minn.) and Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) defeated Aaron Wald's Minnesota 2 rink, 8-5, to run their record to 7-1. The team concludes the round robin this afternoon against Stephen Dropkin's Massachusetts team (4-4). A win in that game would secure them the No. 1 playoff seed. In this morning's game, Minnesota 1 never trailed, scoring deuces with the last-rock advantage and limiting Minnesota 2's offense for most of the match. A single in the 10th squelched any sort of steal Wald had in mind. Brandon Corbett's New York team took a big step closer to the playoffs with an 11-5 win over Michigan's Richard Smith rink to improve to 6-2. Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.) and teammates Chris Bond (Henrietta, N.Y.), Derek Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.) and Kell Orlando (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) took command of the match early with a 6-1 advantage after five ends. Smith's team, hungry for its first win, staged a comeback by scoring three in the sixth end and stealing a single in the seventh to pull within one point. But, the New York squad smashed those dreams with five points in the eighth end. North Dakota's Erik Jensen rink posted its sixth win to remain tied for second place with New York. Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.) and teammates Marcus Tucker (St. Thomas, N.D.), Connor Gervais (Amarillo, Texas) and Brock Walker (Bismarck, N.D.) defeated Stephen Dropkin's Massachusetts team, 9-5, after stealing points in the fifth- and sixth-ends and hanging three on the scoreboard in the eighth end. Wisconsin's Brad Caldwell team improved to 5-3 with a 13-5 win over Matt Birklid's Alaska team. Caldwell (Mapleton, Minn.) and teammates Matt Collom (Galesville, Wis.), Tyler Vietanen (Trempealeau, Wis.) and John Landsteiner (Mapleton, Minn.) scored five points in two different ends to hand Alaska its eighth straight loss. Live scoring can be found on the USA Curling website at The round robin continues through Friday morning followed by the Page System playoffs in the evening. In the playoffs, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will face off with the winner advancing to the championship final and the losing team playing the winner of the No. 3 v. No. 4 game in a semifinal. The championship finals are set for 1 p.m. Saturday. The winning teams from the 2008 Junior Nationals will represent the U.S. at the 2008 World Junior Championships March 1-9 in Ostersund, Sweden. Standings: Women: Minnesota 1 (Carlson) 6-1 Massachusetts (Walker) 6-1 Alaska (Hufman) 5-2 Wisconsin 1 (Spatola) 5-2 Minnesota 2 (Solem) 5-2 Illinois (Stewart) 2-5 Utah (Schieber) 2-5 Pennsylvania (Anderson) 2-5 North Dakota (Tucker) 2-5 Wisconsin 2 (Schaffer) 0-7 Men: *Minnesota 1 (Plys) 7-1 North Dakota (Jensen) 6-2 New York (Corbett) 6-2 Washington (Thomas) 5-2 Wisconsin (Caldwell) 5-3 Massachusetts (Dropkin) 4-4 Minnesota 2 (Wald) 4-4 Illinois (Rahn) 2-5 Alaska (Birklid) 0-8 Michigan (Smith) 0-8 *playoff berth USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T, General Motors, The Home Depot, and Bank of America through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).