USA suffers sixth loss in Beijing

By Terry Kolesar | April 02, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
April 2, 2014

American team slips to 2-6 at 2014 World Men's Championship in China

(BEIJING) - Inconsistent play continues to haunt Team USA at the 2014 World Men's Curling Championship presented by Ford of Canada as Pete Fenson and the American men logged their sixth loss of the round robin this afternoon. 
Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) and teammates Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.), and Ryan Brunt (Portage, Wis.) quickly fell behind China's Rui Liu rink (4-4) in an eventual 8-4 loss. 

"We're just making little small mistakes that are piling up and then getting us in the end. We're a shot or two or a position or two away from winning all of these games instead of losing them," said Al Hackner, head coach for the U.S. team. 

After significant misses in the middle ends, Team USA found themselves in a 0-7 deficit that they could not crawl out of.

"It's just the small stuff. But bottom line, too, we haven't played our best stuff yet. We haven't played our 'A' game. We haven't come out and played really well - individually this guy has a good game and then that guy has a good game - but all together we're not firing on all cylinders. The mistakes are adding up," said Hackner, who won two world titles for Canada.

The loss drops the Fenson team to 2-6 in the round robin with three games remaining against Denmark (2-6) tonight and Norway (7-1) and Switzerland (6-3) tomorrow. At this point, it is fairly safe to say that the U.S. team cannot advance to a tiebreaker game to try to get to the playoffs. The U.S. men have not advanced to the playoff round since Fenson's team did in 2010 when the team finished fourth in Cortina, Italy.

After the first two ends were blanked, China was building toward another one but made a takeout and kept their stone in the rings to accept the single to get the game's scoring underway.

With the hammer for the first time, the U.S. team struggled to get the end set up in their favor right away as China protected a stone on the button. With Fenson's final stone, the U.S. had to deal with two buried Chinese stones, a third counter on the side of the rings, as well as a wall of USA stones scattered above the rings in the way. Fenson's only option was an angle tap using one of the American rocks just above the house off the centerline to try to remove the Chinese stone on the button but it never curled properly and China stole two.

Needing to get the offense going, USA tried to capitalize on a miss by China but Fenson's final shot - a double takeout - inadvertently removed the U.S. stone in the house and the shooter did not stay around either as China stole one more point.

Desperately needing to swing the momentum, the U.S. again was forced to make a big shot with the last stone and Fenson's draw into the four-foot was heavy. As a result China stole three points to move ahead 7-0. The Americans finally got some offense brewing in the seventh end with two stones in the side of the eight foot as they used the corner guard to their advantage. When China's final stone rubbed on that guard and scurried into the rings, Fenson used his final stone to draw into the four-foot to score three points. 

In the eighth end, China got a stone on the button early and the U.S. had two stones in front of it to limit China's offense. Liu finally removed one with his first stone and kept the shooter in the rings. Fenson removed both to force China to play a soft hit for one point but the final rock rolled out after making impact and the U.S. stole a point. 

The ninth end was played conservatively as the U.S. kept a stone in the house protected with a center guard and China peeled throughout the end. Fenson's final stone of the end stopped short of the intended target but was touching the top 12-foot to have two in scoring position. This forced China to make a takeout for a single point to which the U.S. team offered the handshakes to conclude the game. The U.S. team shot 79 percent compared to China's 86. 

In other games this afternoon, Switzerland's Peter de Cruz rink cruised to its sixth win of the week as they defeated Sweden with the game's last rock, 8-6. Scotland's Ewan MacDonald team earned its third victory as Russia suffered its seventh loss, 7-5. The Czech Republic picked up its fourth victory to stay in the tiebreaker hunt as Jiri Snitil's crew defeated Germany, 8-4. 

USA line score:
*China 001 213 001 x - 8 
USA 000 000 310 x - 4 
*last rock in first end

Draw 13 scores: China 8, USA 4; Scotland 7, Russia 5; Czech Republic 8, Germany 4; Switzerland 8, Sweden 6

Draw 12 scores: Canada 8, Switzerland 4; China 6, Denmark 4; Norway 6, Scotland 4; Japan 7, Czech Republic 5

Draw 11 scores: Czech Republic 6, Scotland 5; Norway 9, Canada 5; Switzerland 7, China 6; Japan 8, Denmark 2

1. Norway 7-1
2. Canada 6-2 
2. Japan 6-2
4. Switzerland 6-3
5. China 5-4
6. Germany 4-4
6. Sweden 4-4
8. Czech Republic 4-5
9. Scotland 3-6
10. USA 2-6
10. Denmark 2-6
12. Russia 1-7
Here is a look at Team USA's round robin schedule (all game times listed as CST, China Standard Time):
* 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 ( and

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For more information: Terry Kolesar, press officer, Team USA,, 608-338-9900.