Norway slides past USA men as round robin gets underway in Sochi

By Terry Kolesar | Feb. 10, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
Feb. 10, 2014

USA men falter as first day of round robin wraps up

(SOCHI, Russia) - Norway's pants may be all the talk coming into the 2014 Olympic Winter Games but their curling skills took center stage tonight as they defeated John Shuster and the American men, 7-4, at the Ice Cube Curling Center. 

Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.), and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) struggled with the rocks and quickly fell behind to the 2010 Olympic silver medalists from Norway. 

"Our plan going in was to win the hammer in the first end, score first, and not fall behind. None of that happened, obviously. It's frustrating. We didn't want to fall behind. We wanted to keep it close, because these guys hit so well," said Isaacson, 30, who works as a middle school science teacher in northern Minnesota. 

Tonight's opener for the U.S. men was just the first of a nine-game round robin.

"For the most part we were very comfortable out there," said Isaacson, Team USA's vice skip, who competed in Vancouver in the second position. "There was a little bit of indecision on the ice and rock placement. That has to get better. We'll have to take good notes on the rocks and learn from it. There's only eight rocks out there (at a time), and we have to use them."

Norway (1-0) outshot the Americans, 83 to 75 percent. "The pre-event practices almost didn't help us at all, because the difference in the rocks was so much. The girls said the same thing. They were just baffled," said Shuster, who is making his third straight Olympic appearance. "But I know now how I'll throw those rocks again, and we play Canada on this same sheet with these same rocks, so at least I'll be ready for that."

The U.S. misjudged a few shots in the first end that resulted in Norway setting up a deuce to get on the scoreboard. The American men were forced to draw into the four-foot for a single point in the next end as they faced two Norwegian rocks.

After the U.S. wrecked on it final stone of the third, Norway had a draw for three points to take a 5-1 lead. The American men capitalized on a late error by Ulsrud to draw in to the rings for two points to cut the Norwegian lead to 5-3.

Norway was held to a single point in the sixth end but grabbed another in the seventh after the U.S. team's final takeout jammed and Norway stole a point.

The U.S. men were then forced to draw into the four-foot to save the eighth end and couldn't catch up on the scoreboard thereafter. 

"If my last rock in six curls just a little more, or stops an inch shorter, we're probably stealing two that end. As it was they thought they were playing to give up a steal of one. But somehow they got both rocks to squirt out just enough," Shuster said about the sixth end. "Even Thomas said he didn't think he could score with that last shot."

The U.S. men return to the ice on Tuesday to take on China (1-0). The American ladies have two games on tap tomorrow as they face Russia (1-0) in the morning session and Great Britain (0-1) in the evening. 

USA line score:
USA men (Shuster) 010 200 010 x - 4 
*Norway (Ulsrud) 203 001 100 x - 7 
*last rock in first end

Draw 3 scores (men): Norway 7, USA 4; Switzerland 5, Canada 4; Denmark 11, Russia 10 (extra end); Sweden 8, Great Britain 4

Standings, Men:
Sweden 2-0
China 1-0
Norway 1-0
Canada 1-1
Denmark 1-1
Great Britain 1-1
Switzerland 1-1
USA 0-1
Germany 0-1
Russian Fed. 0-2

Standings, Women:
Canada 1-0
Switzerland 1-0
Sweden 1-0
Russian Fed. 1-0
Korea 0-0
Japan 0-0
China 0-1
Denmark 0-1
Great Britain 0-1
USA 0-1

Teams are competing in a nine-game round robin through Feb. 17 followed by playoffs on Feb. 19-21. 

NBC's networks will cover all of the U.S. curling competition. Go to to create a customized viewing schedule based on cable provider and time zone. 

Here is a look at the U.S. team's round robin competition schedule (all times local, Moscow/MSK):

U.S. Women:
Tuesday, Feb. 11: USA v. Russia, 9 a.m.; and USA v. Great Britain, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 12: USA v. China, 2 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 13: USA v. Japan, 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 14: USA v. Denmark, 2 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 15: USA v. Sweden, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 16: USA v. Canada, 2 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 17: USA v. Korea, 9 a.m.

U.S. Men:
Tuesday, Feb. 11: USA v. China, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 12: USA v. Denmark, 9 a.m.
Thursday, Feb. 13: USA v. Great Britain, 2 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 14: USA v. Germany, 9 a.m.; and USA v. Russia, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 16: USA v. Canada, 9 a.m.; and USA v. Sweden, 7 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 17: USA v. Switzerland, 2 p.m.

Follow USA Curling on Twitter (@terry_usacurl) and check our website ( and Facebook page ( for updates throughout the Olympic Games. 


For more information: 

Terry Kolesar, Press Officer, Team USA 
719-207-5083 (mobile-Russia)

Rick Patzke, Assistant Press Officer, Team USA
719-207-5089 (mobile-Russia)

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