McCormick rink moves on to face Shuster in playoffs

By Terry L. Davis | Nov. 16, 2017, 12:54 p.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 16, 2017

McCormick rink advances to playoffs at 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling

(OMAHA, Neb.) – Heath McCormick’s team took a little longer journey to get to the playoffs of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling after defeating the Todd Birr rink this morning in a tiebreaker match to keep their Olympic dreams alive.

McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario) and his team of Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.), and Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.) defeated Birr, 8-6, in a sudden-death game today at Baxter Arena. McCormick’s team will now face John Shuster’s rink in a best-of-three playoff series to determine the men’s 2018 Olympic team. The first men’s playoff game will take place at 6 CT tonight.

“I think we all took a little bit of time between changing and getting back to the hotel last night to reflect on it but we’ve put two years of our lives into this and weren’t going to let it affect us too long,” McCormick said about last night’s loss in the round robin against Birr to force today’s tiebreaker game. “If we had said a week ago that we had one game to get into the final, too, we would have took it. You just re-focus. It was a bit of a short night – a bit of a restless night – but we were able to re-group and play really nicely today.”

Hard sweeping from the McCormick front end swept McCormick’s final stone into precise positioning to score the deuce in the opening end. Birr’s team answered with a great shot to remove McCormick’s stone off the four-foot to tie the game. The sides exchanged deuces again but McCormick’s team capitalized to take points in the next four ends to put the game out of reach. In the 10th, McCormick’s side peeled guards and made a takeout for the win.

“We missed some opportunities in that game to put it away a little earlier and managed to stick around. We got a couple of breaks. It feels good to win,” said Plys, who was a member of the 2010 Olympic team in Vancouver. “It was definitely hard to go to bed last night. I just tossed and turned for a long time so we’ll definitely need a nap today. There was a lot running on this game and we were all a bit anxious.”

Birr (Blaine, Minn.) and teammates John Benton (Blaine, Minn.), Hunter Clawson (Clarksville, Md.), and Tom O’Connor (Brooklyn Center, Minn.) were the last team to qualify for the Olympic Team Trials after winning an appeal to compete and finish the week with a 5-4 record for third place.  

The first women’s playoff game featuring the Jamie Sinclair and Nina Roth rinks will take place at 1:30 p.m. CT today and be streamed live at www.NBCSports.com. The game will then air tonight on tape delay on NBCSN. A complete TV and webstream schedule is below.

Line score, men’s tiebreaker:

Todd Birr                          020 200 001 1 – 6

*Heath McCormick         202 011 110 0 – 8

*last rock in first end

 

Playoff TV/webstreaming schedule (all times CT):

Thursday:

1:30 p.m., women’s playoff #1 (Sinclair v. Roth), live via webstream at www.NBCSports.com

6 p.m., men’s playoff #1 (Shuster v. McCormick), live on NBCSN & live online

9 p.m., women’s playoff #1 replay, NBCSN

 

Friday:

1 p.m., women’s playoff #2 (Sinclair v. Roth), live via webstream at www.NBCSports.com

6:30 p.m., men’s playoff #2 (Shuster v. McCormick), live on NBCSN & live online

10:30 p.m., women’s playoff #2 replay, NBCSN

 

Saturday:

10 a.m., women’s playoff #3 (Sinclair v. Roth), if needed, live via webstream at www.NBCSports.com

6:30 p.m., men’s playoff #3 (Shuster v. McCormick), if needed, live on NBCSN & live online

Please note that if only one playoff game is needed on Saturday it will be in the 6:30 time slot.     

Playoff teams:

John Shuster (Superior, Wis.), Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.), and Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.)

Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario), Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.), and Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.)

Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.), Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.), Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), and Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.)

Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.), Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.), Aileen Geving (Duluth, Minn.), and Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.)

USA Curling is hosting the event with Baxter Arena and the Omaha Sports Commission, in partnership with the Aksarben Curling Club and the United States Olympic Committee. The men’s and women’s teams that win the Trials will be named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

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