Danes outmaneuver Americans at 2009 Ford Worlds

April 07, 2009, 12 a.m. (ET)
(MONCTON, New Brunswick) - John Shuster and Team USA went from hot to cold in a matter of five hours Tuesday afternoon at the 2009 Ford World Men's Championship at the Moncton Coliseum.

Denmark's Ulrik Schmidt rink snapped the Americans two-game win streak with a 9-6 dousing highlighted by sloppy play by Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Jason Smith (Duluth), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.) and John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.), which earlier today got past Japan easily in six ends.

"The ice was a little slower today, but we certainly can't blame that," Smith said. "We got used to it...and just didn't make our shots."

Despite the loss, the U.S. is still tied for third place as Scotland also dropped a game at the hands of the Czech Republic. Germany posted a win to improve to 4-3 along with the U.S. and Scotland.

Things were shaky from the opening end but the Americans managed to steal a point when Shuster made an angle raise to the button that Johnny Frederiksen, throwing last stones, couldn't chip out. 

Two key back-to-back misses by Isaacson and Smith allowed the Danes to get a deuce set up in the second end. A sloppy third end left Shuster with a tough shot with the hammer. He'd end up giving the Danes a single in that end. Shuster would be forced then to draw into the four-foot to pick up a single and close the gap at 3-2.

But Denmark would earn another deuce to keep the U.S. chasing. The Americans got a deuce of their own set up in the seventh end after burying a stone in the four-foot early on giving Shuster a nose hit for two.

"We didn't play well too well in the first half but were better in the second half. It was just one of those games where you're chasing all the time. We didn't get the ends set up like we needed to," Smith said. 

Denmark had a chance at three in the eighth when Shuster tried to draw behind the center guard to force Frederiksen to make a tough shot instead of hitting and conceding the two. However, Shuster's stone wrecked on the guard and the Danes just needed to touch the top of the rings. Fredericksen had a little too much mustard on it and watched as his stone sailed through the back of the house.

Trailing by three points heading into the ninth end, the imprecise play continued to plague the Americans but they pounded out the deuce. Needing to steal to force an extra end, the U.S. put up center guards. Isaacson drew behind the guard to cover the button with his second toss. Schmidt chipped it out and Smith wasn't able to replace the stone leaving two guards just off the top of the 12-foot. Shuster put two stones in the four foot but Frederiksen popped them both out to post the third win for the Danes.

The U.S. has the next two draws off and will return to action at 3 p.m. tomorrow to take on undefeated Canada (6-0), which has only had to play one full 10-end game this week.

Game scores: Denmark 9, USA 6; Germany 8, Finland 4; Switzerland 3, Norway 2; Czech Republic 5, Scotland 4

Team USA line score:
USA 100 010 202 0 6
Denmark* 021 002 020 2 9
*last rock in first end

Canada 6-0
Norway 5-1
Scotland 4-3
USA 4-3
Germany 4-3
Denmark 3-3
France 3-3
Switzerland 3-4
Japan 2-4
Czech Republic 2-4
Finland 1-5
China 1-5

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).