FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2017
USA finishes fourth at 2017 World Men’s Championship
(EDMONTON) – Patience was a virtue for Switzerland’s Peter de Cruz rink as they defeated John Shuster and the American men, 7-5, in this afternoon’s bronze-medal game of the 2017 Ford World Men’s Championship.
Switzerland broke open a 3-2 game in the seventh end to get past the U.S. men, who finish fourth.
Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and teammates Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.), and Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) already secured the 2018 Olympic Winter Games berth for the U.S. and were hoping to add another medal to their collections.
“We just lost to a great team. Those guys played fantastic. Sometimes you just get beat,” George said. “I tip my cap to them. I don’t think Benoit (Schwarz) missed a shot against us in the past two games.” The U.S. men lost to Switzerland in Saturday’s Page 3-4 playoff game. Switzerland, in turn, played Sweden in last night’s semifinal in which Niklas Edin and the Swedes prevailed in an extra end to head to the gold-medal game against Canada tonight.
After a bronze-medal finish last year, the Americans played a solid game until things unraveled in the seventh end as Switzerland scored four and took the lead for good.
“It’s a good lesson, truthfully. We got heavy there on a few draws, bounced off, and they made good shots. If my last one curls a quarter-inch less, they have to draw for one. It got away and I had a chance to save it and, obviously, it wasn’t an easy shot. We got a little unlucky on my two. That’s what curling is, a game of quarter-inches,” Shuster said about the seventh end in which the U.S. team missed several key shots to put Switzerland in control.
The Swiss men, with 25-year-old Benoit Schwarz throwing last stones, outshot the U.S. by just a small margin – 86 to 84 percent – but in a tight match, every shot mattered.
A great draw with Shuster’s first stone put the U.S. in the driver’s seat in the opening end as Switzerland missed the runback attempt and then a difficult in-off when Shuster placed a second stone in the four-foot. The Swiss were only able to chip one U.S. stone out as the Americans got on the scoreboard first with a single steal.
Switzerland answered in the second end as they took advantage of a missed takeout to draw for two points. The U.S. team wasn’t able to get ahead in the rock count in the third end and was forced to draw the four-foot for a single point to tie the game. In similar fashion, Switzerland was forced to draw the full four-foot but came up just short as the U.S. stole another point in the fourth end.
After two blank ends, Switzerland finally got an opening when Shuster’s double takeout attempt went awry and the Swiss suddenly had three in scoring contention as the seventh end developed. The USA’s second runback attempt failed as well and Switzerland scored four points to break the game open.
“It’s pretty cut and dry. We played a couple of shots that were ‘must makes’ and they were difficult shots. When you’re playing games like this, you’re going to have situations where with a slightly more conservative call, you can make it and give up just a couple of points. We played a shot that we thought could give us an out – it was a difficult shot – but if you’re in a medal game at a world championship, those shots are going to come up. I think we’re OK with what we called. It decided the medal,” George said.
The U.S. men tried in earnest to set up the deuce in the following end but just missed the double takeout, settling instead for a single. After a series of nice shots by both sides, Switzerland opted to take a point in the ninth end. Down three with the last rock, the U.S. wasn’t able to generate a big end to either force an extra end or win.
“There will be a lot of things that we’ll be able to take from this moving forward to give us more confidence this fall,” George said. Team Shuster’s fourth-place finish qualifies the team to compete in this November’s 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling in Omaha, Neb.
The gold-medal game between Canada and Sweden will be broadcast live on Universal HD at 6 p.m. MT tonight. NBCSN will air an encore of the game at 10 p.m. ET.
Follow all the action online at http://www.worldcurling.org/wmcc2017/.
Line score, Page playoff 3-4 game:
USA 101 100 010 1 – 5
*Switzerland 020 000 401 0 – 7
*last rock in first end
2018 Olympic Winter Games qualification:
The first eight men’s teams to compete at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games curling event have been determined at the conclusion of the 2017 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship round robin on April 6. They are Canada, Great Britain (qualified as Scotland), Japan, hosts Korea, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and USA [listed in alphabetical order]. The remaining two spots will be awarded at the Olympic Qualification Event in December in the Czech Republic. A complete list of qualification points can be found at http://www.worldcurling.org/pyeongchang-2018-olympic-winter-games.
USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, BalancePlus, and Brakebush, and is partnered with Laurie Artiss Ltd. – The Pin People, United Airlines, 12th End Sports Network, and CurlingZone.
For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, email@example.com, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).