(MONCTON, New Brunswick) - Wiping sweat from his brow in a rather warm Moncton Coliseum, John Shuster and Team USA picked up a big win over Germany Saturday afternoon to open up the 2009 Ford World Men's Championship.
The Americans knocked off 2007 world silver medalist Andy Kapp, 6-5, when Shuster made a clutch draw to the button for the win despite the air temperature in the area adjacent to the playing field hovering at 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
"For being frosty, it still held up good," Shuster said. "We managed it." To try to rectify those conditions, tonight's draw is being delayed 30 minutes to give the icemakers a little more time to work on the ice.
With today's win the Americans put themselves at the top of the leader-board in the weeklong round robin.
"Getting a win always is good. We got the jitters out so that helps us gain confidence," Shuster said. "Throwing the last rock for the win is great. I would have rather made that shot in the ninth to tell you the truth."
Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Jason Smith (Duluth), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.) and John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) started the game with a steal despite the fact that the Germans had a good end set up for two. Kapp tried a soft tap on the American stone but was wide giving up the opening-end steal. Kapp made up for it in the second end though getting the deuce set up again and this time capitalizing with a takeout to take an early 2-1 lead.
The Americans tied the game in the third end when Shuster was forced to make a takeout for a single. The Americans were defensive in the fourth end with Smith making a double takeout to leave the Germans scrambling to finish the end. Kapp would make a draw for one into the four-foot against two American rocks.
Shuster would be forced to draw for one himself in the fifth end as the Germans got three stones in the house to make the Olympic bronze medalist make the draw. Shuster had two great shots in the sixth end to put the pressure on Germany, with his final stone being a draw behind the center guard to the four-foot. Kapp tried to softly tap it back for one but came up a few inches short.
After Shuster used his last rock to make a come-around draw for shot position in the back of the four-foot in the seventh end, Kapp looked to have the deuce in hand. However, his stone just nicked the other American stone just above the four-foot and spun just beyond the U.S. shot rock for another U.S. steal. The Americans then forced Kapp to make a takeout for a single point in the eighth end to retain the hammer heading into the final two ends.
Shuster made a nice double takeout with his first stone that seemingly helped set up the deuce in the ninth end but Shuster wrecked on the guard trying to take out the German rock Kapp stuck in the house with his final shot.
Tied 5-5 headed into the 10th end, the Americans momentarily got into trouble when a cluster of rocks formed in the top of the house and Smith flashed his takeout attempt. He'd blast the mound of granite out with his second attempt, however, removing two and shoving two others to the side of the house. The Germans had a stone in the back of the four-foot so Shuster tried to freeze to it with his first stone but left it hanging out. Kapp removed the stone but Shuster was able to draw to the button for the win.
"It was ugly," Smith said of the win. "Yeah, it feels good, but it was ugly."
Shuster noted the team's playoff appearance last week at the Grand Slam event in Bear Mountain as a springboard for tonight's success.
Game scores: USA 6, Germany 5; Switzerland 10, Scotland 7 (extra end); Norway 7, Denmark 6; Finland 8, Czech Republic 6 (extra end)
Team USA line score:
Germany* 020 100 011 0 5
USA 101 011 100 1 6
*last rock in first end
Czech Republic 0-1
Universal Sports will air 12 hours of TV coverage from Moncton, featuring the following games:
* April 11: USA vs. Germany, 7 p.m. ET (tape-delayed)
* April 11: USA vs. Canada, 11:30 p.m. ET (tape-delayed)
* April 12: Semifinal/bronze, 7 p.m. (tape-delayed)
* April 12: Final, 11:30 p.m. ET (tape-delayed)
* In addition, on-demand webstreaming of several of the U.S. games will be featured onwww.universalsports.com
For more information about Universal Sports TV in your area, visit http://www.universalsports.tv/Universal_Sports_on_TV.html
In addition, video-on-demand webstreaming from several of the games are posted atwww.universalsports.com. Live end-by-end scoring from the World Women's Championship is available online at http://www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks. All times posted are local (13 hours ahead of Eastern Time Zone; GMT + 9 hours).