Craig Brown and Patti Lank move on to finals

By Terry Kolesar | Feb. 20, 2015, 12 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 20, 2015

Watch the finals live! Click here!

Lank, Brown advance to finals at 2015 USA Curling National Championships

(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) - Patti Lank and Craig Brown punched their tickets to their respective gold-medal games after triumphing in today's semifinal matches at the 2015 USA Curling National Championships.

Lank's team of Maureen Stolt (Plymouth, Minn.), Anna Bauman (Duluth, Minn.), and Madisson Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.) defeated the Aileen Sormunen rink, 9-5, to advance to tomorrow's final against Olympian Erika Brown. That game will take place at 10 a.m. ET at Wings Stadium. 

"We're super excited. We played a really good game," Lank said after the semifinal win. "I know they have a really great hit game so that's why I wanted to force them into more of a touch game ... and it worked out well for us." 

Lank's rink was able to capitalize on opportunities to score multiple points when they had the hammer. A key steal late in the game when Sormunen's final stone of the seventh end rubbed a guard allowed Lank's squad to steal three points. Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Monica Walker (Brighton, Mass.), Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.), and Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), however, bounced back with a draw into the house for two points in the eighth. Lank, the five-time U.S. champion, made a great tap with her final rock of the ninth to maintain a four-point lead. Sormunen's team was unable to set up a big steal in the 10th and conceded.

A Brown-Lank final is a familiar one for women's curling in the U.S. "I think it's gonna be a good game; I think it's gonna be a close game," Lank said about the matchup with her former teammate, Erika Brown.  "That's why I think you're in for a good game, because we're both aggressive players. It's gonna be good."

In the men's semifinal tonight, Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.) used the final stone to defeat Heath McCormick's team, 4-3, in a defensive battle. The men's final between Brown and John Shuster's rink is slated to take place at 3 p.m. ET Saturday. 

“I’m happy about it. Obviously we’ve been playing well all week and playing hard all week, and you know, that’s what we were hoping for," Craig Brown said.

Brown (Madison, Wis.) and teammates Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.), Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.), and Sean Beighton (Seattle) were the first to put a deuce on the scoreboard as the team drew into the rings for two points in the fifth end to take a 2-1 lead. After giving up single steals in the sixth and seventh ends, McCormick and his team of Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.), and Colin Hufman (Seattle) were successful with a draw into the four-foot in the eighth end to finally get back on the scoreboard and make it a one-point game. The ninth end was blanked and the 10th was relatively wide open. 2014 Olympian Brown just needed to convert a runback to remove the McCormick shot rock with the final stone to win the game. 

Earlier in the competition Sormunen's rink earned enough Order of Merit points to secure their spot as Team USA for the 2015 World Women's Championship in Sapporo, Japan. The win tonight by Craig Brown clinched the world berth for Shuster's team because it kept McCormick out of the final. A McCormick-Shuster final would have been a winner-take-all final. 

The competition will continue to be streamed live via USA Curling's partnership with the 12th End Sports Network at www.usacurl.org. 

Line scores:
Women's semifinal:
*Aileen Sormunen 010 200 020 x - 5
Patti Lank 003 001 302 x - 9

Men's semifinal:
*Craig Brown 000 021 100 0 - 4 
Heath McCormick 001 000 020 0 - 3 
*last rock in first end

The official Twitter hashtags for the event are #2015Nats and #curling. USA Curling will post updates and photos to its Facebook page as well at https://www.facebook.com/pages/USA-Curling/107975609011. 

Media credentials can be requested at http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Curling/Events/Championships/National-Events/National-Championships.

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

(30)

For more information: Terry Kolesar, Director of Communications, terry.kolesar@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).