USA defeats Russia to get into win column

By Terry Kolesar | March 30, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
March 30, 2014

USA gets into win column at 2014 World Men's Championship in China

(BEIJING) - It took an extra end but Pete Fenson and the U.S. men got into the win column at the 2014 World Men's Curling Championship presented by Ford of Canada. 

Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) and teammates Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.), and Ryan Brunt (Portage, Wis.) battled Russia's Evgeny Arkhipov rink as well as the ice in earning the 6-5 win this afternoon at Beijing Capital Gymnasium. 

"The ice so far, even after we had a lot of practice on it, is extremely difficult. This is probably the most difficult ice I've ever experienced," said Rojeski, who shot 77 percent as the Americans earned their first win. "The ice is magnifying everyone's release. It's made us look like this is the first time we've played on really swingy ice and it's extremely frustrating for the team. If we were playing on normal Slam ice or what Dave (Staveteig) has at the Nationals the sweeping takes care of the imperfections you see here. Here we can't get rid of the imperfections. It's almost as if the sweeping can't cover them up so you see the hits and then the roll out." 

Both Russia and the U.S. struggled with key roll outs at inopportune times but the last stone was the one that counted as the Americans got the job done to improve to 1-2 in the 11-game round robin.

"Getting that first win is important, that's for sure," said Rojeski, 41, who is playing in his seventh world men's championship.

The U.S. was forced to draw for a single point in the first end after Russia played a perfect freeze to the U.S. shot stone behind a corner guard. In the second end, the U.S. took control when Fenson made a raise double takeout with his first skip stone after Russia looked poised for a deuce when Rojeski's takeout attempt jammed in the back of the house and left a Russian rock in play. Russian vice skip Alexey Stukalskiy, who throws last stones, was looking at three U.S. rocks with the hammer and was forced to make a double takeout to score a single point to tie the game for the first of three times. 

After the third was blanked, the U.S. team used its corner guard to full advantage in the fourth end, and had three stones in scoring position after vice skip stones. Stukalskiy played a freeze to a U.S. stone in the back of the eight-foot. Fenson chased after it but Russia was still second position as there was no way to remove the Russian stone due to the U.S. rocks forming a wall behind it. Russia again played the freeze but Fenson moved the stones around enough to escape the end with a hard-earned deuce.

After consecutive blank ends as Russia struggled to get ahead of the U.S. in rock placement, the Russians were able to take advantage of a missed takeout opportunity and set up a game-tying deuce in the seventh.

Team USA got a stone buried in the top of the rings behind a center guard in the eighth end that led to a deuce after Fenson converted an open takeout. The U.S. gave Russia several opportunities to score two points in the ninth end but Stukalskiy's final takeout resulted in the Russian shooter stone rolling out as they earned just a point. 

With a one-point lead and the last stone in the 10th, the U.S. kept the end relatively open until two late snafus with skip stones set up a steal for the Russians (1-2). With no stones in the house, Fenson was throwing a routine peel but on the exit, his stone bumped a Russian rock that was out in the weeds above the house into the back 12-foot. Russia then drew a second stone into the top of the house, forcing the U.S. to make a takeout for the win. Fenson removed the stone in the back of the house but his stone rolled out in the process, giving Russia a point.

In the extra end, the U.S. took advantage of a Russian vice skip stone that didn't cross the hogline to make the path to the house cleaner for Fenson's final stone. Stukalskiy buried his last rock behind the lone corner guard, but Fenson drew the button to score the coveted single point for the win.

"The 10th end, we have to barely draw the eight-foot for the win, but we're nervous of it. You don't ever see that. In a normal situation, if we have to hit full four-foot, we'll take that any day over a nose hit any day. Here we're just so uncomfortable with the ice right now it's changing our game a little bit," Rojeski said. "The simple shots right now just are not simple. The level of difficulty is high. A routine hit is not routine."

In other round robin competition this afternoon, Germany won its third straight to stay undefeated as Johnny Jahr led his team to a 7-5 victory over Sweden. "We had a very bad Olympic Games.  We've come here and re-focused, and we have enough power to compete well.  We've had a long season and this is our last tournament," said German last-rock thrower Felix Schulze.
Japan surprised Canada with a 9-6 victory as Kevin Koe missed the game's final runback attempt, which allowed the Japanese men to steal two points and the win. "This is our second time to beat Canada, and to beat Canada is always exciting for us. We have to continue to play like that," said Yusuke Morozumi, skip for Team Japan. 
Norway (2-0) controlled its match against Denmark, cruising to an 8-3 victory to stay undefeated.  "We practiced hard for the Olympics and we're playing good now, but it's two weeks too late," said Thomas Ulsrud, Norway's skip. "I'm really happy with the way we're playing.  I heard other teams thought the ice was a bit tricky but we're a team on 2-0 so we think the ice is really good."
The U.S. team has two games on tap on Monday. In the 9 a.m. session the Americans will battle Japan (1-1). In the afternoon, they will look to end Germany's win streak. 

USA line score:
*USA 100 200 020 01 - 6 
Russia 010 000 201 10 - 5 

Draw 4 scores: Norway 8, Denmark 3; USA 6, Russia 5 (extra end); Japan 9, Canada 6; Germany 7, Sweden 5

Draw 3 scores: China 11, Scotland 8; Switzerland 9, Czech Republic 4

Germany 3-0
Norway 2-0
Sweden 2-1
Canada 1-1
China 1-1
Czech Republic 1-1
Japan 1-1
Switzerland 1-1
USA 1-2
Russia 1-2
Denmark 0-2
Scotland 0-2

Two USA round robin games will be streamed live via NBC Universal Sports at and also at In addition, the semifinal and medal games will be streamed on Universal. These games also will air on TV on tape delay on Universal Sports (check your local cable listings). In addition, selected live coverage of the 2014 World Championship events is available via the World Curling Federation's YouTube Channel at

Here is a look at Team USA's round robin schedule (all times listed as CST, China Standard Time):
* Monday, March 31: USA v. Japan, 9 a.m.; USA v. Germany, 2 p.m.
* Tuesday, April 1: USA v. Scotland, 9 a.m.; USA v. Canada, 2 p.m.*
* Wednesday, April 2: USA v. China, 2 p.m.*; USA v. Denmark, 7 p.m.
* Thursday, April 3: USA v. Norway, 9 a.m.; USA v. Switzerland, 7 p.m.
* Friday, April 4: Tiebreaker games (9 a.m., 2 p.m.); Page playoff, 7 p.m.
* Saturday, April 5: Page playoff, 11 a.m.; 4 p.m., semifinal*
* Sunday, April 6: Bronze-medal game, 10 a.m.*; Gold-medal game, 3 p.m.*
*TV & webstreamed on NBC Universal Sports 

Event information links: 

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


For more information: Terry Kolesar, press officer, Team USA,, 608-338-9900.