Swedes drop American men to 2-2 at 2009 World JuniorsVANCOUVER, British Columbia (March 8, 2009) - The American men nearly staged a comeback after sleepwalking through the first seven ends of play Sunday morning at the 2009 World Junior Championships at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.
But the late-game rally ended when Chris Plys' final stone in the 10th end couldn't out-count the Swedish rock in the four-foot to drop the 6-5 decision to Sweden's Kristian Lindstroem rink.
"It was a slow start," said Plys, 21, who skipped his team at last week's 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Denver. "They made a lot of good shots. We struggled with (rock) positioning and gave them a lot of opportunities to make good shots."
With the loss, the defending world champions fall to 2-2 in the standings. "At two and two we're still doing fine. We're in control of our own destiny," Plys said.
The Americans struggled in the early going, giving up three steals in the first three ends after missed shots with the final stone. The Swedes kept the rocks in play and tripped up the U.S. again in the fifth end when Plys came up short drawing against three Swedish rocks for another single steal. The Americans finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth end when Plys made a nose hit for one to avoid another steal.
The Swedes got a deuce set up in the seventh end when Lindstroem made a double takeout with his first stone but he'd roll out on his final takeout to pull ahead 5-1. The Americans finally got their chance at the deuce in the eighth end when Brorson made a freeze to the Swedish rock in the back of the four foot. Plys would draw down to the button for his two to inch closer at 5-3.
Lindstroem missed a peel of U.S. rock guarding the other American stone in the four foot. Plys froze down to his own stone to lie two forcing the Swedish skip to attempt an angle takeout, which he missed allowing the U.S. to tie the game heading into the 10th end.
The U.S. kept the pressure on in the 10th end but Lindstroem made a perfect draw behind the guard to sit on the tee line with his first stone and didn't need to throw his second as Plys couldn't get closer.
"We picked it up in the second half and made it go until our last rock in the 10th," Plys said.
The Canadian men, which lead the pack at 4-0, were idle this morning. Sweden and Denmark are in second place at 3-1.
The top four teams at the conclusion of the round robin in each division advance to the page system of playoffs beginning Friday night. The gold medal games are set for 4 p.m. PT March 15.
USA men* 000 001 022 0 5
Sweden 111 010 100 1 6
*last stone in first end
Czech Rep. 1-3
USA Curling is sponsored by Kodiak Technology Group, AIT Worldwide Logistics and Nike.