FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 18, 2008 Defending champions pour on the offense to remain undefeated at 2008 USA Curling National Championships (HIBBING, Minn.) - Big scoring ends have been the theme of day number three at the 2008 USA Curling National Championships at the Hibbing Curling Club. First there was the seven-ender in the men's draw earlier today, then Debbie McCormick's team started with a bang putting up six on the scoreboard against Gillian Gervais's team in the first end. Patti Lank followed suit with a five-ender in the third end of her match with Charrissa Lin. And, then McCormick nearly got another six. McCormick (Rio, Wis.) and teammates Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.) and Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.) improved to 2-0 with an 11-3 win over Gervais but they weren't all that happy with every aspect of their game. "We actually struggled a bit with broom placement and they stole a couple ...then you get that feeling like someone's creeping up behind you," said Pottinger, who along with McCormick won the first women's world gold medal back in 2003. "So, Debbie said let's try something different instead of just hit, hit, hit and we got the five and that felt good." McCormick, the five-time national champion, had an open draw for six points in the first end after Gervais couldn't convert an angle hit and roll. After being forced to take one point in the second end, Gervais and teammates Stephanie Roland (East Grand Forks, Minn.), Stephanie Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.) and Sarah Felchle (Bismarck, N.D.) then had back-to-back steals to pull within three points at 6-3. However, the momentum swing would be short lived as McCormick made a takeout for five points, almost six if her shooter had stayed in the rings, to end the game. "The speed of the ice is real good but you have to watch it on some of the hits," Pottinger said. Patti Lank, a four-time national champion, also improved to 2-0 with an 11-3 win over Charrissa Lin's rink. Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.) and teammates Caitlin Maroldo (Rochester, N.Y.), Ann Swisshelm (Chicago) and Chrissy Haase (Schenectady, N.Y.) broke a 1-1 tie in the third end when Lank made a shot for five after Lin threw her stone through the house. Lin struggled to get stones in scoring position and only posted singles with the hammer in the fourth and sixth ends. Lank made a hit for three in the eighth end to seal the win. Aileen Sormunen, the youngest women's skip in the field at just 21, led her team to a 2-0 start with a 10-3 win over Anne Stuhlman's team from New York. Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Courtney George (Duluth, Minn.), Molly Bonner (Virginia, Minn.), Jordan Moulton (Highland Park, Ill.) and Sophie Brorson (Duluth, Minn.) cleared the house in the fifth end, forcing Stuhlman to make a hit for just one point to maintain a slim lead. Stuhlman tied the game in the sixth end after getting a group of guards above the house that resulted in a steal when Sormunen made a raise takeout but could only remove one of Stuhlman's stones. Sormunen's squad bounced back with three in the eighth end and put the game away after Stuhlman came up short on her draw in the ninth end and gave up a steal of three. The round robin continues through Thursday afternoon with the Page System playoffs beginning at 9 a.m. Friday. The winning teams at the 2008 Nationals will represent the U.S. at the 2008 World Championships. The women's event is scheduled March 22-30 in Vernon, British Columbia. The 2008 Men's World Championship is slated April 4-13 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. Live scoring from the 2008 Nationals can be found on the USA Curling website at www.usacurl.org. Game scores: McCormick 11, Gervais 3; Sormunen 10, Stuhlman 3; Lank 11, Lin 3 Women's standings: Lank (New York) 2-0 McCormick (Wisconsin) 2-0 Sormunen (Minnesota) 2-0 Stuhlman (New York) 0-1 Potter (Minnesota) 0-1 Gervais (North Dakota) 0-2 Lin (Connecticut) 0-2 Men's standings: Brown (Wisconsin) 4-0 Disher (North Dakota) 3-1 Larway (Washington) 3-1 Fenson (Minnesota) 3-1 Romaniuk (Washington) 3-1 George (Minnesota) 2-2 Shuster (Minnesota) 1-3 Birr (Minnesota) 1-3 Roe (Wisconsin) 0-4 Wilberg (Wisconsin) 0-4 USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, email@example.com, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).