CURLING: USA men clinch playoff berth at 2008 World Juniors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 6, 2008 USA men clinch playoff berth at 2008 World Juniors (STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - The U.S. men will make their first playoff appearance since 2005 after defeating Germany, 8-7, Thursday afternoon at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Ostersund, Sweden. Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Aanders Brorson (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Perushek (Eveleth, Minn.) and Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) are tied for first place with Sweden and Canada with 6-2 records. They'll finish the round robin tomorrow morning against China (3-5). A win tomorrow and a little help from some other teams could land the Americans in the Page Playoff 1-2 game. After the conclusion of the round robin, the top four teams advance to the Page Playoffs, whereby the first and second place teams meet in one game (winner to final, loser to semi-final) while the third and fourth place finishers meet in another game (winner to semi-final, loser to bronze medal game this year). The U.S. men lost to both the Canadian and Swedish teams in the round robin so they would fall to the 3-4 game if those teams both post wins tomorrow. In today's match, the U.S. men had to persevere once again and come from behind to defeat the German team led by Daniel Neuner. The Americans fell behind early in the game after the Germans stole three points in the third end to grab a 4-1 lead. But the U.S. showed grit and determination as they scored four points over the next three ends to take the lead at 5-4. After Germany scored a deuce in the seventh end, Plys needed to chip out a German stone nestled to a U.S. rock but the stone didn't curl enough and he ended up removing one of his own, settling for just one point. Germany was forced to draw for one in the ninth end after Plys made a double takeout with his first stone to save the end for the U.S. The Americans were able to get the game-winning deuce set up in the 10th end after Plys made a tough takeout in the 12-foot on the side of the house. Neuner wanted to draw in behind a guard to give Plys a more difficult shot but his final stone came up short of the house giving Plys a draw for the win. The U.S. women, led by Nina Spatola, were eliminated from playoff contention, after a short game with Canada, 9-2. Spatola injured her knee in the third end and had to leave the game. At this point the U.S. ladies were trailing 5-2. Canada would score a single in the fourth end and steal three in the fifth to wrap up their fourth win and keep their playoff hopes alive. Spatola (McFarland, Wis.) and teammates Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), Anna Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Jenna Haag (Milton, Wis.) and Karlie Koenig (Waukesha, Wis.) finish the round robin tonight against Germany. Both teams are 2-6. The Scottish and Swedish ladies teams locked up playoff berths with wins today. There will be at least one tiebreaker for the final playoff spot on the women's side as Denmark and Russia (both 5-3) play each other tonight as do Canada and Switzerland (both 4-4), meaning that at least two teams will be tied for fourth place with 5-4 records. The Page Playoffs take place at 2 p.m. Saturday followed by the semifinals at 7 p.m. The women's bronze medal will be contested at 9 a.m. Sunday followed by the women's gold-medal game at 9:30. The men's bronze game begins at 2 p.m. followed shortly thereafter by the men's gold game at 2:30 p.m. All games are seven hours ahead of CT. Live scoring and a webcam to watch the round robin action can be found at www.curlingkanalen.se. An agreement has been reached between the World Curling Federation, Eurosport and LiveChannel to webstream the playoffs of the 2008 World Junior Curling Championships live from Ostersund, Sweden, on Eurosport's Swedish website, www.eurosport.se. Game scores: Women: Denmark 9, Norway 3; Canada 9, USA 2; Switzerland 7, Japan 6 (extra end); Scotland 8, Russia 1; Sweden 6, Germany 4 Men: USA 8, Germany 7; Denmark 8, China 2; Sweden 7, Czech Republic 1; Scotland 6, Switzerland 4; Norway 9, Canada 8 Line score: Germany 013 000 201 0 7 USA men* 100 121 010 2 8 USA women 002 00x xxx x 2 Canada* 410 13x xxx x 9 * last rock in first end Standings: Men: *Canada 6-2 *Sweden 6-2 *USA 6-2 Switzerland 5-3 Denmark 4-4 Norway 4-4 China 3-5 Germany 3-5 Scotland 2-6 Czech Republic 1-7 *clinched playoff berth Women: *Scotland 6-2 *Sweden 6-2 Denmark 5-3 Russia 5-3 Canada 4-4 Switzerland 4-4 Japan 3-5 Norway 3-5 Germany 2-6 USA 2-6 *clinched playoff berth USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, firstname.lastname@example.org, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).