GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Kirk Black and Team USA were finally rewarded for their hard work with a convincing 9-3 victory over Great Britain this afternoon at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Playing their ninth round robin game, Black (San Antonio, Texas) and teammates Steve Emt (Hebron, Conn.), Justin Marshall (Evansville, Wis.), Penny Greely (Green Bay, Wis.), and Meghan Lino (East Falmouth, Mass.) shot a championship-best 68 percent in this afternoon’s match as they show continuous improvement this week at the Gangneung Curling Centre.
“We finally got a win after all the hard play. We played well again and finally got a couple of breaks this time and the scoreboard reflected it,” Marshall said. “The win doesn’t mean a whole lot in the standings at this point but it’s a moral victory. We’d like to end this trip on a couple of wins and at a high point.”
Team USA made a change to the throwing order, moving Emt to last stones while Black continued to call the game and shoot vice skip. Emt delivered his best shooting out put at 82 percent today in helping the U.S. team secured the victory against Aileen Neilson’s Scottish rink.
“It’s not due to lineup – Kirk’s still the leader of this team. There’s no doubt about that. We just thought we’d change things a little bit and it worked against a very good Great Britain team. It was a great win,” Emt said.
With the win tonight, the U.S. is 2-7 in the round robin with two games left to play tomorrow against Norway (4-4) and Slovakia (3-5).
“It feels great. We always talk about the breaks that happen against us – the wicks and runback doubles. We’ve been plugging and plugging – this is the fifth game in a row now where we’ve played extremely well, and it paid off tonight,” said Emt, who works as a school teacher in Connecticut.
The Americans put three stones in the house for Great Britain to face with the hammer in the opening end. Neilson’s final draw attempt was too light to score the point and the Americans got on the scoreboard first with a single steal. Neilson’s team then had to settle for a single point in the second end as the U.S. team had stones blocking most of the path to the four-foot.
The U.S. played a strong third end and had a draw for three lined up after Neilson’s final takeout attempt made contact with a guard instead of the intended stone. The U.S. looked to be in danger of giving up a big end early on in the fourth but solid takeout execution from the Americans coupled with a few errors by Great Britain turned things around.
Team USA had three stones in the rings to force Great Britain into drawing for a point in the fifth end. The Americans would put the game away in the sixth end as they capitalized on missed takeout attempts and drew in a third point.
Great Britain would be forced into a takeout to secure a single point in the seventh end and they offered the handshakes to conclude the match.
*Great Britain 010 010 1x – 3
USA 103 203 0x – 9
*last stone in first end (hammer)
Other session scores: Norway 9, Korea 2; Switzerland 9, Germany 4; Canada 5, NPA 4
Round robin standings:
Great Britain 5-4
*Neutral Paralympic Athletes
TV and webstreaming:
All games are streaming live at www.nbcsports.com and on the NBC Sports app with TV coverage on the Olympic Channel and NBCSN. A complete schedule is posted at https://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Features/2018/February/27/NBC-Announces-Commentators-For-2018-Paralympic-Winter-Games.
Round robin schedule (all times local KST):
Thursday, March 15:
9:35 a.m., USA vs. Norway
7:35 p.m., USA vs. Slovakia
Friday, March 16:
9:35 a.m., tiebreaker games, if needed
3:35 p.m., semifinals
Saturday, March 17:
9:35 a.m., bronze-medal game
2:35 p.m., gold-medal game
USA round robin results:
Korea 7, USA 3
Germany 6, USA 4
USA 10, Sweden 2
Finland 8, USA 5
Neutral Paralympic Athletes 6, USA 4
China 6, USA 4
Canada 6, USA 5
Switzerland 7, USA 4
USA 9, Great Britain 3