George advances to men's championship at 2010 US Olympic Team TrialsBROOMFIELD, Colo. (Feb. 27, 2009) - Sometimes in life a little luck can go a long way. Tyler George experienced that with his final stone this afternoon as his team advanced to Saturday's championship final at the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
As the teams inch closer to the opportunity to represent the USA at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, the tension appears to be growing thicker and thicker around the Broomfield Event Center.
With the game tied 5-5 in the 10th end of the page playoff 1-2 game, Shuster threw his final stone, a draw to the side of the four-foot to grab shot rock. There was a George stone next to it in the eight foot and stones in front of the house. George attempted to raise one of his guards into the house to remove the Shuster rock but it over-curled, made contact with the guard and pushed it into the house just enough to move his stone in the eight foot over to the button to win the game. With emotions running high, Shuster exclaimed, "I have never seen anything like that in my life before," as the rock stopped on the button.
"I hadn't thrown a draw in a four ends, and it curled more than I thought. There was a second when I thought we'd lost," George said about the shot. "I feel kind of bad that we won the game that way, but I felt like we controlled the whole game."
George (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Kris Perkovich (Chisholm, Minn.), Kevin Johnson (Duluth) and Mark Haluptzok (Bemidji, Minn.) now move on to Saturday's 3 p.m. final. Shuster will play Todd Birr's team in the semifinal at 8 tonight with the winner moving on to face George. Birr's team eliminated Craig Brown's defending champions, 9-6, in the page playoff 3-4 team. "That was a one in a million shot," said John Benton, lead for Team Shuster.
Birr (Mankato, Minn.) and teammates Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, Minn.), Greg Wilson (Vernon Hills, Ill.) and Kevin Birr (St. Peter, Minn.) scored two big ends, something they hadn't done all week here as they've kept their games conservative for the most part. With the Brown rink leading 1-0, Birr got on the scoreboard with three points in the third end. Brown tied the game in the fifth but Birr, the 2007 national champion, would strike for four points in the sixth end just sliding past the guard to tap Brown's shot stone out. Brown tried to rally with a deuce in the seventh but Birr held on for the win with a double takeout with the final stone in the 10th.
"The ice was different yesterday, and we just didn't adapt," Birr said about yesterday's loss to Shuster in the tiebreaker game. "We didn't talk about it much. You gotta shrug those games off."
Live scoring from the event is available at www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks in the scoreboard.
Shuster 010 101 002 0 5
*George 102 000 020 1 6
Brown 010 110 201 0 6
*Birr 003 004 010 1 9
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