(MONCTON, New Brunswick) - Sunday morning at the 2009 Ford World Men's Championship didn't quite go as planned for John Shuster and Team USA as Scotland's David Murdoch thumped the Americans, 12-6, at the Moncton Coliseum.
Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Jason Smith (Duluth), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.) and John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) weren't quite as sharp this morning as they were in their debut yesterday when they defeated the Germans.
"It was just a shot here, a shot there," Smith said of their play. "We gave up four but didn't get down on ourselves. We've been down like that before like at the Olympic Trials and come back."
The U.S. fell behind early on when Scottish lead Euan Byers placed two stones around the button in the second end. Isaacson tried a soft tap but couldn't quite move enough of it with his first toss. However, it put two U.S. rocks in the four-foot. After Scotland removed one, Isaacson tried to double them out but one jammed unto the U.S. rock just behind the tee-line. Late in the end with the U.S. sitting shot rock now, Shuster simply put up the guard with his first stone to try to steal. Murdoch countered with a great tap on the U.S. rock that pushed it into the eight-foot leaving three Scottish rocks in scoring position. Shuster opted to draw down to the four-foot with the hopes of grabbing shot rock but it slipped behind the tee line to give Murdoch a hit for four.
What started as a shaky third end was saved by Smith and Shuster as the U.S. pounced for four points to get right back in the game. The U.S.'s play was sketchy until Smith threw his first stone - a double takeout. With plenty of stones still in play, Smith followed that shot up with another double but the U.S. still didn't have shot rock. Shuster took command of the end with a cross-house double takeout with his first stone to leave the U.S. sitting four. After Murdoch made a soft tap on a stone in the back of the house, Shuster would convert a nose hit to take a 5-4 lead.
The fourth end was kept relatively clean. Murdoch needed to double out two U.S. rocks for a single. Isaacson drew around a corner guard to help the U.S. set up the deuce in the fifth end. But Smith's takeout rolled out allowing the Scots to go after Isaacson's nicely placed stone. Smith made the tight takeout and left his stone just hanging off the side of the house half buried by the guard. Murdoch wrecked on the guard allowing Shuster to draw a second stone in the house but he came up short of the rings. Murdoch then made up for his early miss forcing Shuster to make the takeout to blank the end.
Scotland got the shot rock in early in the sixth end to set up the steal as Shuster's final draw sunk deep into the back of the house. The Americans got in trouble again with rocks scattered all around the house when Shuster went to throw his last toss in the seventh. He'd make the takeout for a single to tie the game at 6-6.
The U.S. got into quite a bind in the eighth with Shuster staring down five Scottish rocks with his first throw. He'd make a nice draw to the button, half covered by the guard, but Murdoch would be able to use his own stone to promote it and remove the U.S. rock. Shuster's second stone sailed through the house giving the Scots six points and the win.
"My last stone...I hit it on the wrong side and totally hosed it so I'll take the blame for this one," Smith said.
The U.S. returns to the ice at 7:30 tonight to take on Switzerland (1-1). "We're going to win tonight," Smith declared adamantly.
Game scores: Scotland 12, USA 6; Germany 10, Switzerland 9 (extra end)
Team USA line score:
USA* 104 000 10x x 6
Scotland 040 101 06x x 12
*last rock in first end
Czech Republic 1-1
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.
* Live end-by-end scoring from the Ford World Men's Championship is available online athttp://www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks. All times posted are local (1 hour ahead of Eastern Time Zone).