Scotland gets past USA in round robin competition in Chinaac

By Terry Kolesar | April 01, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2014

Scotland gets past USA at 2014 World Men's Championship in China

(BEIJING) - Being stuck between a rock and a hard place could be a common phrase used in the sport of curling. Two teams hovering at the bottom of the standings at the 2014 World Men's Curling Championship presented by Ford of Canada duked it out to try to climb the ladder today at the Beijing Capital Gymnasium.

Scotland's Ewan MacDonald rink prevailed in this morning's battle over Pete Fenson and the Americans, 8-6, to put both team records at 2-4 in the round robin. "We feel better for getting that win on the board.  The guys played good, a good solid performance and nice to finish it off.  It was good to get a win," said MacDonald, who has won three world titles (1999, 2006, 2009).
Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) and teammates Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.), and Ryan Brunt (Portage, Wis.) struggled with the little things today that resulted in the team's fourth loss of the 11-game preliminary round.

"We were having a little trouble being perfectly dialed in with the ice and that is usually a recipe for not winning a game," said Fenson. "The ice is better than it was earlier in the week; we just have to handle it better." 

The loss comes at a critical point in the round robin as the U.S. team has many of the top teams still left to play this week. 

"The main concern for us is that we have to play a little bit better because that's what we're trying to do - come out and play as good as we can and make as many shots as we can and winning follows. We have a short break and then will play another so hopefully that one goes better," Fenson said.

The American men (2-4) return to the ice at 2 p.m. today against Canada's Kevin Koe rink (4-1). That game will stream live via Universal Sports http://universalsports.com/watch-live/) and the World Curling Federation (www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV). The game will also air on TV on tape delay at 1 p.m. ET on Universal Sports. 

"Mostly for us today it was rock positioning. We just struggled getting them in the right spots," Fenson said. Both teams shot a matching 81 percent as the game was back-and-forth throughout with the turning point coming late in the game.

The U.S. forced Scotland into a single in the opening end as Scotland was looking at two American stones splitting the rings, leading to a hit and roll to score one point. 

A miss by the Scottish second followed by a miss with MacDonald's first runback attempt allowed the U.S. to keep two stones in the house in the following end. Fenson placed his first stone in the top eight foot, a bit too deep and MacDonald was able to remove two stones to limit the U.S. to a draw for two. Scotland countered by taking advantage of a U.S. miss in the third to split the rings with stones and eventually score two points with an open draw. 

A shaky fourth end for the U.S. was saved with the final stone as Fenson placed it in the eight-foot for a single point. The fifth end wasn't shaping up well for the Americans either as the Scots looked poised to score multiple points. However, a double takeout by Rojeski coupled with a Scottish miscue in which they removed their own stone, left four U.S. rocks in the house. MacDonald was forced to draw full four-foot with his last one but came up a tad too light and the Americans stole a point.

Scotland again looked ready to score multiple points in the sixth end but MacDonald inadvertently removed his second counter with his first stone so he had to draw the four-foot and settle for one.

Team USA got two stones in the four-foot behind a center guard in the seventh end. MacDonald played a great shot onto the button for the best position with his first stone and the U.S. failed to remove it. Scotland set up the force of one and Fenson made a takeout to tie the game for the third time.

In the ninth end, the turning point of the game came with MacDonald's first stone as he cleared out the two U.S. stones and left three Scottish rocks in the rings. Trailing by three points, the U.S. was unable to set up a big scoring end in the 10th as they suffered their fourth loss of the week.

"We struggled in the last half. We were playing a freeze in the back and Joe's ended up a little heavy. It wasn't frozen and he (MacDonald) ended up making a double a little bit later," Fenson said about the ninth end action. "We got to mine and we needed to get it to the back of the eight-foot and I don't know if we got tricked a little on the speed but we left it on the tee-line, and just the way they lined up the double was there. We weren't positive where all the rocks were going to go but we didn't like it regardless. Then on my last one, I had to make a hit and roll under a guard and I just didn't throw it very good and it rolled the wrong way."

In other round robin competition this morning, Switzerland moved into third position with an extra-end victory over Germany, which lost its third straight game to slip to 3-3. The Czech Republic (2-4) got back in the win column by holding off Sweden, 5-3, in a game that didn't see much scoring until the second half. Host China (3-3) kept its playoff hopes alive with a narrow 5-4 victory over Russia (1-5). 

USA line score:
USA 020 110 010 1 - 6 
*Scotland 102 001 103 0 - 8 

Draw 9 scores: Scotland 8, USA 6; Czech Republic 5, Sweden 3; China 5, Russia 4; Switzerland 7, Germany 6 (extra end)

Draw 8 scores: Canada 10, Czech Republic 6; Switzerland 8, Japan 3; Denmark 7, Scotland 6; Norway 5, China 3

Standings:
1. Norway 5-0
2. Canada 4-1
3. Switzerland 4-2
4. Japan 3-2
5. Germany 3-3
5. China 3-3
5. Sweden 3-3
8. Denmark 2-3
9. Czech Republic 2-4
9. Scotland 2-4
9. USA 2-4
12. Russia 1-5
Here is a look at Team USA's round robin schedule (all game times listed as CST, China Standard Time):
* Wednesday, April 2: USA v. China, 2 p.m.* (live on webstream at 2 a.m. ET; on TV/Universal Sports, 1 p.m. ET tape delay); USA v. Denmark, 7 p.m.
* Thursday, April 3: USA v. Norway, 9 a.m.; USA v. Switzerland, 7 p.m.
* Friday, April 4: Tiebreaker games (9 a.m., 2 p.m.); Page playoff, 7 p.m.
* Saturday, April 5: Page playoff, 11 a.m.; 4 p.m., semifinal* (live on webstream, 4 a.m. ET; 4 p.m. ET on TV/Universal Sports)
* Sunday, April 6: Bronze-medal game, 10 a.m.* (live on webstream, 10 p.m. ET on April 5; on TV/Universal Sports, 9 a.m. ET April 6); Gold-medal game, 3 p.m.* (live on webstream, 3 a.m. ET; tape delay on TV/Universal Sports, 4 p.m. ET)
*TV & webstream information (http://universalsports.com/watch-live/ and www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV)

Event information links:
http://wmcc2014.curlingevents.com/
www.worldcurling.org
www.usacurl.org 

Social media:
Facebook, USA Curling: https://www.facebook.com/pages/USA-Curling/107975609011 
Facebook, event: https://www.facebook.com/WorldMensCurlingChampionship
Twitter Hashtags: #wmcc2014 #curling

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

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For more information: Terry Kolesar, press officer, Team USA, terry.kolesar@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900.

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