Germany gets past USA

By Terry Kolesar | Dec. 12, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)
Dec. 12, 2013

Germany roars back to beat USA at Olympic Qualification Event 

(FUESSEN, Germany) - John Shuster and Team USA had the game seemingly in hand late in this morning's game but a few snafus in the final end allowed Germany to come storming back and take the win away from the Americans at the Olympic Qualification Event at the BLZ Arena.

The 8-7 loss to Germany's John Jahr rink puts Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.), and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) at 2-2, which still equates to a tie for second place with three games remaining in the seven-game round robin.

Despite the loss on the scoreboard, this was the strongest game the Americans have played this week, with 84 percent shooting as a team. After taking a comfortable two-rock lead into the 10th end, things unraveled quickly and a few half shots by the U.S. resulted in Germany having a takeout for the win.

"We played a pretty good game, I thought. In the 10th end, I airballed a peel and that's unacceptable," said Zezel, 22, a student at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. "Jeff's takeout curled more than we expected. He threw it good and everything like that so it was kind of a surprise what happened with that." 

Germany, with Felix Schulze throwing last rocks, got off to a productive start making a takeout to start the game with two points. The U.S. answered by getting their own deuce set up early in the second end and Shuster clinching it with an open takeout to tie the game. 

After the third end was blanked, Germany got rocks positioned late in the end to set up Schulze to draw into the rings for two points. The U.S. team was forced to draw the full four-foot for a single in the sixth end after Schulze converted a perfect raise promotion to remove the U.S. stone that was hidden behind it as the Americans aimed for the deuce. 

In the seventh end, Germany was trying to remove a U.S. stone on the far side of the rings to blank the end but didn't get enough of it for the complete elimination and the Americans stole a point to tie the game. 

Both sides had early errors that offset one another but put the U.S. back in control in the ninth end. The U.S. had four rocks scattered around the house in scoring position when the skips readied for their turns. The skips exchanged hits with Schulze making a double takeout with his second throw. Shuster was left with a takeout of a stone on the far side of the house for three points. 

A missed peel early in the 10th end allowed Germany to draw behind a corner guard and set up the house for a multiple scoring end. Isaacson made a takeout on a German stone in the top corner of the house but his shooter stone rolled over to the other side of the house, which allowed Germany to place another rock behind the German corner guard. Shuster then tried to corner freeze to a stone and left it exposed enough for Germany to remove. 

Shuster needed a nose hit with his final stone to cut the scoring down. After the hit, however, his stone rolled and pushed the American stone that was in the four-foot in second position out through an opening of German stones on the side of the house, leaving Schulze with a hit for three for the win. "It just didn't curl," Zezel said about his skip's final rock of the end.

Team USA returns to the ice at 7 p.m. to take on Japan (1-3), which will be the feature game on the World Curling Federation's live webstream. "It's nice that we have a long break today so we'll go back and talk about it with Derek [Brown] and then take a nap and rest because we're not out of it yet," said Zezel, who won the U.S. junior title in 2011 and represented the U.S. at the 2011 World Junior Championships.

Follow all the action at NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will produce a three-hour show from the event, which will air at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 19.

Game score:
USA 020 001 103 0 - 7 
*Germany 200 200 010 3 - 8 
*last rock in first end

Other game scores: France 7, Czech Republic 5; Finland 10, Japan 7; Korea 10, New Zealand 6

Men's standings:
Korea 4-0
Czech Republic 2-2
France 2-2
Germany 2-2
New Zealand 2-2
USA 2-2
Finland 1-3
Japan 1-3

Women's standings:
China 2-0
Japan 2-0
Germany 2-1
Czech Republic 1-2
Latvia 1-2
Norway 1-2
Italy 0-2

Team USA game schedule:
Thursday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m. local/1 p.m. ET: USA v. Japan
Friday, Dec. 13, 12 p.m. local/6 a.m. ET: USA v. Korea
Friday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m. local/2 p.m. ET: USA v. Finland
Saturday, Dec. 14, Men's 1 v. 2 playoff, 8 p.m. local/2 p.m. ET
Sunday, Dec. 15, Men's second playoff, 12:30 p.m. local/6:30 a.m. ET

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, BalancePlus, and is partnered with Hilton, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.

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For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).