Great Britain slides past USA men

By Terry Kolesar | Feb. 13, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
Feb. 13, 2014

USA men drop to 1-3 in round robin play at Olympic Winter Games

(SOCHI, Russia) - Nearing the halfway mark of the round robin, John Shuster and the American men are looking for a way to string together some wins at the Ice Cube Curling Center.

That wish didn't come true this afternoon as Great Britain's David Murdoch rink controlled the majority of the game against Team USA's John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.), and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

"Today we didn't play good enough to beat those guys, and they played great," said Zezel, 22, a student at Bemidji State University who is making his first Olympic appearance. 

With the loss today, the U.S. men slip to 1-3 in the standings with five round robin games remaining. The top four teams will advance to the semifinals on Wednesday.

"We just need to stay confident," Zezel said. The U.S. has games against Germany (0-4), Russia (1-4), Canada (3-2), Sweden (4-1), and Switzerland (1-4) left on the schedule. 

"It's not like we're playing badly. It's just one shot here and there that is getting us in trouble," said National Coach Al Hackner (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada).

With the final stone of the first end, the U.S. attempted an angle tap in the hopes of scoring two points. The U.S. stone made contact with the Britain rock but it didn't push it across the button and out of scoring position and the Brits stole a point. 

"That first end turned into a big ugly mess. If we had peeled the center guard early, (Great Britain) has nothing but one rock in the top," Hackner said. "Instead, once we went in again, we had no chance of getting more than one. Sometimes you have to make a game decision, so it never gets too cluttered. Otherwise you either end up getting only one, or giving up a bunch." 

After the second end was blanked, Team USA got into a jam early in the third as Britain piled stones in the four-foot after a key American miss with the third stone. As the end unfolded, Great Britain had two stones near the button with a center guard for protection. With the final stone, Shuster attempted a tricky in-off using a stone on the far side of the sheet but didn't get any sort of roll and Britain stole two points. 

"That was the key to the game. Once they got those two, that set the tone of the game," Hackner said about the steal. 

The U.S. was forced into singles in the fourth and seventh ends as Britain made double and triple takeouts with ease. 

Murdoch was forced to draw for a single point in the eighth end after Shuster played a perfect hit and roll to put two American stones in scoring position.

Hoping to set up a big end, or a score of two points at a minimum, the American men struggled to place stones in workable positions with a series of half shots. That left Britain with three stones scattered around the rings. Shuster made a hit with his first shot but didn't get the necessary roll to hide it. Murdoch easily chipped it out to place four stones in scoring position, forcing Shuster to make a double takeout to score a single point.

An early hogline violation thwarted USA's chances to set up a steal in the 10th end and they eventually ran out of rocks as Great Britain earned its fourth victory.

"That was a commanding performance," Murdoch said after the win. "That's what we talked about a couple of days ago, and yet again we did it. I think we dominated from start to finish.  We were aggressive in the first five ends and got our lead and we were clinical after that. We had some great shot-making and I thought Greg (Drummond) was on fire."
Up next on the schedule for the U.S. men will be Germany's John Jahr rink (0-4), a team they recently played in the Olympic Qualification Event in December in Fuessen. The U.S. women take on Japan (2-1) tonight at 7. 

USA line score:
Great Britain (Murdoch) 102 010 010 x - 5 
*USA (Shuster) 000 100 101 x - 3 
*last rock in first end

Men's Draw 6 scores: Great Britain 5, USA 3; Canada 7, Denmark 6; Sweden 5, Norway 4; Russia 7, Switzerland 6

Women's Draw 5 scores: Canada 8, Denmark 5; Great Britain 8, China 7; Sweden 9, Switzerland 8

Standings, Men:
China 4-0
Great Britain 4-1
Sweden 4-1
Norway 3-1
Canada 3-2
Denmark 2-3
USA 1-3
Russian Fed. 1-4
Switzerland 1-4
Germany 0-4

Standings, Women:
Canada 4-0
Switzerland 3-1
Sweden 3-1
Japan 2-1
China 2-2
Great Britain 2-2
Russian Fed. 2-2
Korea 1-2
Denmark 0-4
USA 0-4

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

NBC's networks is airing all of the U.S. curling competition. Go to to create a customized viewing schedule based on cable provider and time zone. It also is streaming live online for each game.

Here is a look at Team USA's remaining round robin competition schedule (all times local, Moscow/MSK):

U.S. Women:
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:
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 
+1-719-207-5083 (mobile-Russia)

Rick Patzke, Assistant Press Officer, Team USA
+1-719-207-5089 (mobile-Russia)

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