Play-off race heating up at 2010 US Olympic Team TrialsBROOMFIELD, Colo. (Feb. 24, 2009) - Who will wear Team USA? That's the burning question lingering as the men's action unfolded Tuesday afternoon at the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at the Broomfield Event Center.
The standings are still garbled, but the curling is not. Heating up the ice to take possession of first place was Tyler George's team from Minnesota. George (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Kris Perkovich (Chisholm, Minn.), Kevin Johnson (Duluth, Minn.) and Mark Haluptzok (Bemidji, Minn.) improved to 5-1 with a takeout to seal the win against Kevin Deeren's Wisconsin-based squad.
Five teams are tied for third place with 3-3 records behind George (5-1) and Todd Birr (4-2) with the teams at the bottom certainly not out of contention with three games remaining in the round robin.
Mark Johnson (Edmonton, Alberta) and teammates Wes Johnson (Seattle), Brady Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.) and Ken Trask (Seattle) improved to 3-3 with a last rock draw to the four-foot against Mike Farbelow, 4-3, in an extra end. Threatening to steal a big end in the third, Johnson made a clutch angle raise to score one that steered the momentum in favor of the West coast team.
Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.) notched another "w" in the win column with a 9-4 victory over Birr. "We've been playing better each game," said Rich Ruohonen, Team Brown's vice skip. "To come out today and not get back-to-back losses is huge."
John Shuster's team kept pace with the middle of the pack as well earning a 7-4 win over Craig Disher's rink. "That game felt good," said John Benton, lead for Team Shuster. "Everything was clicking - the attitudes were where they should be and we were communicating really well. I think building off this win and talking about the positives will help us."
Greg Romaniuk's team won its second straight close match. This time they defeated Chris Plys, 5-4. Trailing by two points without the last-rock advantage, the Plys rink wasn't able to set up the necessary steal and now fall to 2-4 in the standings. Romaniuk (Snohomish, Wash.) and teammates Doug Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Leon Romaniuk (Seattle) and Troy Schroeder (St. Paul, Minn.) took an early advantage with three points in the third end and never relinquished the lead.
"We've actually had three good games in a row now," Greg Romaniuk said. "Maybe we've been thinking about everything too much. I think we play better once we get confidence, and we have that now."
Live scoring from the event will be available at www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks in the scoreboard.
Photos can be found at: http://www.curlingrocks.net/photo-gallery.php.
Scores: Romaniuk 5, Plys 4; Johnson 4, Farbelow 3 (extra end); Shuster 7, Disher 4; Brown 9, Birr 4; George 7, Deeren 5
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