USA men stay in play-off chase at 2009 World Juniors

March 10, 2009, 4:27 p.m. (ET)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (March 9, 2009) - Chris Plys led his American team to win number four Tuesday morning with a last-rock win over Switzerland 5-4 at the 2009 World Junior Championships at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.

But it came on the final stone of Switzerland's Roger Meier, not the defending world champion, as he tanked his final draw attempting to score two points and send the game into an extra end.

With the win, Plys (Duluth) and teammates Aanders Brorson (Duluth), Matt Perushek (Eveleth, Minn.) and Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) improve to 4-2 and tied with Denmark and Sweden for second place. Canada lost its first match today but at 6-1 holds the top spot. The Americans know they need to keep winning to secure a spot in Saturday's page playoffs. Especially critical is the fact that the Americans lost to both Denmark and Sweden in the round robin.

"It's obviously a big cluster with Canada losing that game," said Perushek, who is set to graduate from college in May. He'll be attending law school in the fall at George Mason University. "I think that a lot of those teams have to play each other yet. It will be nice to win tonight and let the others duke it out."

The match was back-and-forth in the first half with each team forcing the other to make a tough last shot for singles. The game's lone deuce came in the fifth end when Plys converted an angle raise takeout.

Rather than drawing in for a single in the sixth end, Meier chose to attempt an angle raise takeout of the U.S. shot stone in the four-foot but he missed it, giving up a steal of one point. The Americans had several rocks scattered around the house when Meier went to throw his final stone in the seventh end but this time he'd draw down for a single to close the gap at 4-3.

Early in the eighth end the Americans looked to have a big end set up but it quickly dissipated as the Swiss men got a few stones cluttered around the four-foot. It took a measure, but the U.S. stone hanging off the side of the four-foot was determined to be a crucial single point for the American men.

After blanking the ninth end, the Swiss men got the deuce they needed set up in the 10th. Wanting to keep the house empty, Brorson got two attempts at the double takeout on the Swiss rocks but couldn't get more than one each time. As the skips exchanged hits, Plys rolled his shooter out with his last loss leaving Meier to simply draw any part of the house for his two to force overtime. He put too much weight on it, however, and Brorson swept it out of the back of the house for the win.

"I feel like we're starting to play well. We didn't necessarily shot well today. I missed a shot there in the tenth and so did Aanders, but we knew if it had to go eleven that we'd pull out the win," Perushek said.

The U.S. men return to the ice at 7 tonight to play Russia (2-4). The American women (4-3) have the day off.

Game scores: USA 5, Switzerland 4; Sweden 11, Germany 6; Scotland 6, Canada 4; China 8, Norway 4

Line score:
USA men 010 021 010 0 5
Switzerland* 101 000 100 1 4
*last stone in first end

Women's standings:
Russia 5-1
Switzerland 5-1
Scotland 5-2
Canada 4-2
USA 4-3
France 3-4
Denmark 2-4
Sweden 2-5
Czech Rep. 1-5
Japan 1-5

Men's standings:
Canada 6-1
Denmark 4-2
Sweden 4-2
USA 4-2
Norway 4-3
China 3-3
Switzerland 3-4
Scotland 2-4
Russia 2-4
Germany 0-7

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