USA Curling

Russia steals win from USA men

By Terry Kolesar | Feb. 14, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 14, 2014

Russia steals win from USA men

(SOCHI, Russia) - The win was within an inch of the grasp of Team USA but slipped away tonight at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games as Russia's Evgeny Arkhipov rink defeated the Americans by stealing the final point of the game during round robin action at the Ice Cube Curling Center.  

With a loud crowd cheering for the home team, John Shuster's final stone of the 10th needed to be just a whisker closer to count for the win. "I had been trying to call the guys off (of sweeping) for about five seconds. It just needed to curl about a quarter-inch more. If we didn't sweep it that would have made all the difference," Shuster said. 

The 10th end was messy with multiple stones left in play above the rings. Russia had a stone counting on the button and Shuster's first stone rubbed on a guard, leaving Russia in control to draw in a second counter into the four foot. With the final stone Shuster played a tap that needed precise sweeping, and the U.S. didn't push the Russian stone far enough off the button to score and win.

"It's the Russian Olympic fans cheering for Russia. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. That's a great thing. But what I saw when I got in the hack to throw my last shot was every player on the Russian team standing there and trying to quiet the fans down. That shows what a class act they are," Shuster said. "It's unfortunate, but I'm not upset about that. At the same time, no matter what shot you're playing you want to be able to communicate."

"I couldn't hear a thing. I didn't hear the weight at all. But that's part of the Olympics. It's the home crowd advantage, and you've got to expect that," Isaacson added.

With the loss, Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.), and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) fall to 2-4 in the standings with three games remaining in the round robin - Sweden (5-1), Canada (4-2) and Switzerland (1-5). The four teams with the best records advance to the semifinals.

"We did a heck of a job battling back, and put ourselves in a position to win. He (Shuster) threw a darn good shot. He only had to hit it within a millimeter more and we would have made it. We did what we could. I just wish that we could have communicated better," Isaacson said. 

Russia, with Alexey Stukalskiy throwing last rocks, controlled the first few ends of the game - grabbing an early deuce and then stealing the third end to take a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth end, USA placed two stones in the four-foot behind a corner guard after an error by Russia. A double takeout by Shuster with his first skip stone left three American rocks in scoring position. When Russia's shooter stone didn't stay in the rings after the takeout with their last rock, Team USA tied the game with a takeout for three points.

Russia was able to put two points on the scoreboard in the fifth end when the U.S. narrowly missed a double takeout with Shuster's first skip stone. Stukalskiy helped Russia take the 5-3 advantage with an open takeout. 

The U.S. got the deuce in place in the sixth end and benefitted when Russia couldn't finish off either of their final stones. Shuster then had a draw for two to tie the game. 

The Americans stole a point in the seventh end when the Russians failed to remove the U.S. stone on the button. The teams traded double takeouts late in the eighth end, resulting in a steal of one for the Americans. "That was huge. It flipped the scoreboard," Isaacson said about the steal. "We would have probably stolen two if I had kept the sweepers on a little longer."

Russia opted to blank the eighth end and tried to blank the ninth until Shuster placed his final stone near the Russian rock, forcing Stukalskiy to go after it. Russia made the takeout but lost their stone in the back of the rings and only scored a point.

The U.S. men have the day off tomorrow, returning to the ice on Sunday to face Sweden's Niklas Edin rink. Erika Brown and the American women will play Sweden (4-1) at 2 p.m. MSK.

USA line score:
*Russia 021 020 001 1 - 7 
USA (Shuster) 000 302 100 0 - 6 
*last rock in first end

Men's Draw 8 scores: Great Britain 8, Denmark 6; Russia 7, USA 6; China 7, Norway 5; Germany 8, Switzerland 7

Standings, Men:
Sweden 5-1
China 5-1
Great Britain 5-1
Canada 4-2
Norway 3-3
Denmark 2-4
Russian Fed. 2-4
USA 2-4
Switzerland 1-5
Germany 1-5

Standings, Women:
Canada 5-0
Sweden 4-1
China 3-2
Great Britain 3-2
Russian Fed. 3-3
Switzerland 3-3
Japan 2-3
Korea 2-3
Denmark 1-5
USA 1-5

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:
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:
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 
719-207-5083 (mobile-Russia)

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

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