Canada outlasts USA in Paralympic round robin competition in Sochi
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2014
Canada outlasts USA in round robin action at 2014 Paralympic Winter Games
(SOCHI, RUSSIA) - Team USA was unable to take advantage of scoring opportunities against Canada this morning in a 7-2 loss at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
In a game fashioned on precision shooting, Canada narrowly outshot the Patrick McDonald and the American team, 56-51 percent, but their vice skip Ina Forrest played at 79 percent to keep the Canadians' record perfect at 4-0 as the round robin nears the halfway point at the Ice Cube Curling Center.
"The first four ends were probably some of the best curling we've done all week," said McDonald, who is skipping in his first Paralympic Games after serving as alternate/vice skip in 2010. "After the fourth-end break it was business as usual. We were playing good but had a couple of missed shots and they capitalized. Later in the game we tried to play tough and get multiples (points). We got little rubs here and there and they capitalized on those too. We pretty much just ran out of ends."
McDonald and teammates David Palmer (Mashpee, Mass.), Jimmy Joseph (New Hartford, N.Y.), and Penny Greely (Green Bay, Wis.), who is celebrating her birthday today, along with alternate Meghan Lino (East Falmouth, Mass.) drop to 1-3 in the standings.
"I'm a cheerleader out there," said Joseph, who has competed for Team USA at seven world championships and now three Paralympic Games. "We're not out of this, and we can't feel like we're out of this. If we do, the other team's gonna know and see our body language and be like 'Look at these guys, they're down and out.' I just keep my team in it and their spirits high. We're USA!!"
While the loss puts the Americans low in the standings, there are still five round robin games left on the schedule, including a matchup with host Russia (3-1) this afternoon.
"We need to get another win this afternoon against Russia and then get that streak going," said Joseph, 51. "We need to get our weights down and read the ice better, but it's mostly the weights."
Team USA started their fourth straight game by winning the last-rock challenge. However, as in three previous outings, it was the opponent who scored first. The skips exchanged high degree-of-difficulty shots to start the game with Armstrong making a perfect hit and roll that left his stone hidden behind a center guard in the eight-foot ring. McDonald's draw was heavy and Canada stole a point to start the game.
U.S. played the second end well and got the open draw for two set up. However, the final draw shot by McDonald was a few inches short of the house and the game was tied 1-1.
Joseph's second stone of the third end - a come-around draw - sat nicely behind a center guard to get things going in the right direction for the Americans. However, Palmer's two stones were a bit off target and Canadian vice skip Forrest was able to remove it with her second stone to set up the deuce for Canada. McDonald was unable to remove a Canadian stone with his first shot and Armstrong drew in another counter behind the center guard. With the final American rock, McDonald removed one of the stones in the back of the house and left his rock in a spot that forced Armstrong to settle for drawing into the four-foot for two points instead of the four they had been building toward.
In the fourth end, the teams played a game in which they were drawing into the four-foot and tucking stones behind the center guards with ease. Forrest used her second vice skip stone to place one just behind the tee-line in the four-foot. Palmer tried to follow her stone down that path but it rubbed on a guard and fully protected the Canadian shot rock. Sensing a steal opportunity, Armstrong tried to draw another stone into the rings, but he inadvertently tapped Palmer's stone into the top four-foot into scoring position, which ended up being the single point the Americans would score to cut into Canada's slight lead.
In the fifth end, the U.S. tried to capitalize on two key takeout situations in which Canada jammed stones and left American rocks in play. Forrest again positioned a second counter in play with a well-placed takeout, however, and Canada had the deuce set up to pull ahead 5-2.
Canada got a cluster of stones in the side of the eight foot that troubled Team USA throughout the sixth end. With the last rock, USA attempted to draw into the four-foot but McDonald's stone was a tad heavy, which resulted in a lack of curl as it hit the paint and Canada stole another point.
USA had a tough takeout to potentially score three points in the seventh end but McDonald's last stone made contact with an American rock in the top of the house and zigzagged out the back of the rings to spot Canada one more point. The U.S. couldn't get a big end set up in the eighth and offered the handshake halfway through.
"There were a lot of missed shots. We needed to capitalize on their missed shots. They gave us breaks and we gave them a lot of breaks. They just happened to capitalize on their shots. That's just the way it went. That's curling," Joseph said after the loss.
In other round robin games this morning, host Russia improved to 3-1 with a 7-5 win over Korea (1-3). Finland, seeking its first win of the tournament, was heavy with its final stone in the extra end and Norway held on for an 8-6 victory. China took an early 4-0 lead over Sweden and never let them into the game for an eventual 8-4 win.
The round robin continues this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. (MSK) as Team USA takes on Andrey Smirnov's rink.
Live scores and standings can be found at http://sochi2014.curlingevents.com/paralympics. Follow the action at Twitter as well and use hashtag #2014Paralympics.
USA line score:
*USA 010 100 0x - 2
Canada 102 021 1x - 7
*last stone in first end
Draw 5 results: Russia 7, Korea 5; Canada 7, USA 2; Norway 8, Finland 6 (extra end); China 8, Sweden 4
Draw 4 game results (3:30 p.m. Sunday): Slovakia 9, Finland 6; Great Britain 8, Korea 4; Canada 7, Sweden 4
Great Britain 2-1
NBC is airing 50 hours of television coverage from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, including two wheelchair curling matches. The USA-China game on Wednesday will air live on NBC Sports Network. In addition, the gold-medal game will be featured on tape delay (6:30 p.m. ET) on March 15. 2006 Olympic bronze medalist and 2014 national champion Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) is part of the on-air team for NBC's coverage of the wheelchair curling competition. All wheelchair curling games will be streamed live at www.teamusa.org. Learn more about NBC's coverage here, http://www.teamusa.org/Paralympic-Winter-Games-Live-Stream-Schedule/Broadcast-Schedule
Here is a look at Team USA's round robin schedule:
Tuesday, March 11: USA v. Finland, 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 12: USA v. China, 9:30 a.m.; USA v. Sweden, 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 13: USA v. Great Britain, 9:30 a.m.
Friday, March 14: Tiebreaker games, if needed
Saturday, March 15: Semifinals, 9:30 a.m.; gold- and bronze-medal games, 3:30 p.m.
USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, BalancePlus, and is partnered with Hilton, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.
For more information: Terry Kolesar, press officer, Team USA, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-719-207-5083 (RUS mobile) or 608-338-9900 (U.S. mobile).