USA Curling

Apr 06 Norway shuts down USA at 2009 Ford World Men's Championship

April 06, 2009, 2:42 p.m. (ET)
(MONCTON, New Brunswick) - John Shuster and Team USA couldn't hold off two-time world bronze medalist Thomas Ulsrud of Norway in a back-and-forth game Monday morning at the 2009 Ford World Men's Championship at the Moncton Coliseum.

"If I play a little better today, we'd win," Shuster said. 

Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Jason Smith (Duluth), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.) and John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) missed a couple of key shots in the 7-5 loss, most notably in the ninth end when an opportunity to grab the game's momentum was slammed shut when Shuster's final stone rolled out of the house. "I just gotta make that shot," Shuster said.

With the loss, the U.S. drops to 2-2 while Norway keeps its record spotless at 4-0. 

"I think the U.S. played well; and we were not sharp today," said Ulsrud. "We gave away some easy points and we had a little trouble with draw weight. I have to give credit to the icemaker, it was beautiful ice out there today, and we actually handled it badly. We managed to win it; hey, they don't give any grades for how you look out there...As long as you win."

Norway applied pressure early and often to the Americans throughout the match. The U.S. got in a bit of a bind in the first end when Norway was able to cover two stones in the four-foot. Shuster's first attempt moved one back but Ulsrud would junk it up further by sticking another stone into the pot. Shuster tried to draw down into the mess but came down narrow and light, giving the Norwegians the opening-end steal of one. Norway continued to pressure the U.S., forcing Shuster to make a soft tap for just a single to knot the game at 1-1.

Norway was poised to pop a big end in the fourth until Shuster converted a double takeout with his first throw followed by a takeout to lie two. Ulsrud ended up just nudging one of the American stones at the top of the house while trying to draw in for a single to give the U.S. a steal. Norway finally got the deuce set up in the sixth end when the Americans failed to remove one of the Norwegian stones resulting in a back-and-forth takeout game with Ulsrud drawing in for two points to take back the lead. 

The 37-year-old salon tan owner from Oslo missed a key takeout in the seventh end, allowing Shuster to draw in for two points. The Americans made Norway earn their deuce in the eighth end with Ulsrud converting a takeout and grab a 5-4 lead. 

Smith made a double takeout to put the U.S. in good position in the ninth end to take the lead. However, Ulsrud had a pretty double up his own sleeve and rolled his shooter behind the center guard to cause some trouble for the Americans. Shuster had a nice draw down to the four-foot to grab shot stone once again and seemed poised for the deuce with a takeout on his final toss but he rolled the shooter out.

The U.S. held on to the shot stone in the 10th end until Ulsrud used his first stone to tap it out the back. With the final American rock of the game, Shuster's rock picked up something on the ice shortly after he released it so Ulsrud didn't need to throw his final stone.

"Yeah, it picked, but I think it was heavy anyway," Shuster said. "The ice is getting better and I just need to adjust to that."

Game scores: Norway 7, USA 5; Scotland 7, Finland 2; Switzerland 9, Denmark 6; Germany 9, Czech Republic 8 (extra end)

Team USA line score:
USA* 010 100 201 0 5
Norway 100 002 020 2 7
*last rock in first end

Standings: 
Norway 4-0
Canada 3-0
Scotland 3-1
France 2-1
USA 2-2
Germany 2-2
Switzerland 2-2
Japan 1-2
Czech Republic 1-3
Denmark 1-3
Finland 1-3
China 0-3

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 on www.universalsports.com. 
* Live end-by-end scoring from the Ford World Men's Championship is available online at http://www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks. All times posted are local (1 hour ahead of Eastern Time Zone).
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