USA men earn first win of 2014 Olympic Winter Games

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

USA men pick up first win of 2014 Olympic Winter Games

(SOCHI, Russia) - John Shuster and the American men confidently got into the win column for the first time at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games after a dominating victory over Denmark's Rasmus Stjerne rink, 9-5, this morning at the Ice Cube Curling Center.

"We definitely got some breaks out there today, that's for sure. They missed some shots they probably shouldn't have. But we still played well," said Shuster, who is competing in his third straight Olympic Games. 

Despite coming into today's game with an 0-2 record, Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.), and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) had shot well in their previous outings without the wins to back it up. Today's victory moves them out of the cellar of the nine-game round robin standings. 

"We changed our pre-game practice back to what we had been doing in Fuessen (at the Olympic Qualifying Event), so we could get more rocks in. We weren't getting the hammer (with the pre-game draw shot challenge), and today we only missed getting it by an inch, because it over-curled," Landsteiner said about the team's approach to the game.

The American men shot 85 percent in the win today, compared to Denmark's 76 performance. Shuster out-played his Danish counterpart, who struggled with draw weight throughout, by 20 percent.

"It's definitely better than 0-3," Landsteiner said about today's win. "They (Denmark) were having a bad day, and we were playing well."

Denmark played a double takeout with the final stone of the first end to put three points on the scoreboard but wouldn't score again until late in the game. A hit-and-roll by Shuster with his first stone set the American men up for a draw for two points with the final stone of the second end to cut into the Danish lead. 

In the third, the U.S. capitalized on mistakes by Denmark to steal a single point when Stjerne's final draw slipped behind the tee-line. A key hit and roll by Shuster in the fourth end proved profitable as the Danish skip's final stone over-curled and the Americans stole two points to take their first lead of the tournament. 

The American men stole a third consecutive end when Stjerne's final stone of the fifth end was light.  
After back-to-back blank ends as the Danes continued to struggle to stay ahead of the U.S., the Americans got two stones buried in the top of the four-foot in the eighth. Stjerne tried to double them out with his first stone but only removed one. Denmark had three stones in the rings now, and the last rock advantage. Shuster played a tap to promote a U.S. stone on to the button and Stjerne missed the double takeout to give the Americans one more point - a pivotal moment in the game.  

After keeping the Danes off the scoreboard for seven ends, Stjerne made a double takeout to score two points in the ninth. A missed peel early in the 10th end kept things interesting for Denmark but Shuster sealed up the first win for the American contingent with a double takeout for the 9-5 victory.

"Jeff made a great double peel, although his rock rolled into a little bit of a bad spot. But I was able to make a couple of shots after that," Shuster said about the final end.

Next up for the American men will be David Murdoch's rink from Great Britain (2-1). Those two teams will face off at 2 p.m. (MSK) Thursday. The U.S. ladies hit the ice this afternoon against China (1-1).

USA line score:
*Denmark (Stjerne) 300 000 002 0 - 5 
USA (Shuster) 021 210 010 2 - 9 
*last rock in first end

Draw 7 scores (men): USA 9, Denmark 5; Norway 8, Germany 5; China 5, Switzerland 4

Standings, Men:
China 3-0
Norway 3-0
Sweden 3-0
Great Britain 2-1
Canada 1-2
Denmark 1-2
Switzerland 1-2
USA 1-2
Germany 0-3
Russian Fed. 0-3

Standings, Women:
Switzerland 3-0
Canada 2-0
Russian Fed. 2-1
China 1-1
Great Britain 1-1
Korea 1-1
Japan 1-1
Sweden 1-1
Denmark 0-3
USA 0-3

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 http://www.nbcolympics.com/tv-listings 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:
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:
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 (www.usacurl.org) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/USA-Curling/107975609011) for updates throughout the Olympic Games. 

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For more information: 

Terry Kolesar, Press Officer, Team USA
terry.kolesar@usacurl.org 
+1-719-207-5083 (mobile-Russia)

Rick Patzke, Assistant Press Officer, Team USA
rick.patzke@usacurl.org
+1-719-207-5089 (mobile-Russia)

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

Visit the USA Curling website at www.usacurl.org and connect with USA Curling on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare.

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