USA Curling

Feb 26 Men's play-off teams set at 2010 US Olympic Team Trials

Feb. 26, 2009, 5:59 p.m. (ET)
BROOMFIELD, Colo. - The whispers about tiebreaker scenarios murmured all week became nonessential as the four men's playoff teams were determined Thursday morning at the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at the Broomfield Event Center.

The only thing left to determine now is seeding. Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.) is the No. 1 seed with an 8-1 record. Todd Birr (Mankato, Minn.) and John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) both posted wins this morning to finish tied for second place with 6-3 records. They'll play a game at 4 p.m. to determine seeding and who plays George in the 1-2 page playoff game. Craig Brown won his match and is the automatic No. 4 playoff seed. He'll play the loser of the game between Birr and Shuster in the 3-4 page playoff game at noon tomorrow.

George and teammates Kris Perkovich (Chisholm, Minn.), Kevin Johnson (Duluth, Minn.) and Colin Hufman (Seattle) eliminated Greg Romaniuk's team, 8-4. George's team started things off a bit sloppy in the early ends but re-grouped to steal five points over the final four ends.

Shuster's team of Jason Smith (Cape Coral, Fla.), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.) and John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) made quick work of dispatching the Mike Farbelow team, 11-3. Shuster started strong earning deuces with the last-rock advantage in the first and third ends. The turning point for his team came in the fifth end when Shuster converted a raise double takeout to score four points. Another three points in the seventh was enough for Farbelow to end the game.

"It felt like a whole new day. I finally helped us out there and felt a lot more relaxed out there," Shuster said. "I think the team did a good job of setting up the deuces."

Birr's team went right down to the final rock against Mark Johnson's team from Seattle. Birr and teammates Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, Minn.), Greg Wilson (Vernon Hills, Ill.) and Kevin Birr (St. Peter, Minn.) let the 10th end get a little messy with Birr staring at three Johnson stones around the four-foot when he went to toss his final stone. Needing two points to win, Birr was able to move Johnson's stones enough to grab the win and head to the playoffs.

Craig Brown had a relatively less dramatic entrance to the playoffs after dispatching Craig Disher's team, 7-2. With the game tied 2-2 after four ends, Brown (Madison, Wis.) and teammates Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), John Dunlop (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Pete Annis (Owatonna, Minn.) pulled away in the second half scoring five straight points.

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: Plys 9, Deeren 4; Birr 7, Johnson 6; Brown 7, Disher 2; Shuster 11, Farbelow 3; George 8, Romaniuk 4

STANDINGS

Men
*George 8-1
*Birr 6-3
*Shuster 6-3
*Brown 5-4
Farbelow 4-5
Johnson 4-5
Romaniuk 4-5
Disher 3-6
Plys 3-6
Deeren 2-7
*clinched playoff spots

Women
*McCormick 8-1
*Lank 7-2
*Wright 7-2
*Brown 6-3
Sormunen 5-4
Potter 4-5
O'Leary 4-5
Clark 2-7
Gervais 2-7
Lin 0-9
*clinched playoff berth

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