FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2018
Norway outlasts Team USA as round robin continues at 361° World Men’s Championship
(LAS VEGAS) – Team USA was in an ideal spot with the last rock and but ended up a tad heavy with the final shot of the game to hand Norway a 7-5 win this morning at the 361° World Men’s Curling Championship at Orleans Arena.
Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and his team of Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.), and Phil Tilker (Seattle) just needed to draw for one point and had most of the four-foot available to do so. Out of hand, however, Persinger’s final stone was heavy and slid to the back of the four-foot as Norway’s Steffen Walstad rink escaped with two stolen points to remain undefeated.
“I got a 13.67 on it and we needed a 14.1 so that’s why I said, ‘Right off,’” said Ruohonen, who calls the game for the U.S. but throws vice stones. “It’s unfortunate because we played the whole game for that shot and it’s three inches, four inches heavy but you gotta make those shots if you’re going to win at this level. That’s what you hope for – open draw to the four – and you gotta make it.”
The U.S. is now 1-3 in the 12-game round robin while Norway improved to 4-0 and tied for first place.
“We let them off the hook in a couple of ends, too – in the second and the steal of one in the seventh when we flashed the peel. It’s really unfortunate, but we’re just missing a few shots when you can really put the pressure on that we’re missing – when we’re drawing in for two and we’re light and give them the spot,” said Ruohonen, who makes his living as an attorney in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. “We played pretty well – that’s a great team [Norway]. We pretty much, other than the first end, controlled most of the game. We just have to do a little better job with the finish.”
The Americans did not have the ideal start or finish to today’s game against Norway. Facing two Norwegian counters in the opening end, Persinger’s final shot of the end rubbed on a guard to give up a steal of two points.
Tilker’s second lead stone of the following end got positioned perfectly to score. However, it would be the only point the U.S. would collect as a bundle of granite got buried around it. In the third end, the U.S. was able to guard two stones in the rings for most of the end to keep the Norwegians chasing. Walstad’s final draw of the would be wide as the Americans stole one point. The U.S. got a stone buried in the four-foot in the fourth end, forcing Norway to try an in-off to roll their stone to the button that didn’t pan out as the U.S. stole another point.
Norway would take back that stolen point in the seventh end when the U.S. attempt to blank the end left a Norwegian stone in play. The U.S. countered in the eighth with a fantastic double takeout with the final stone to earn their only deuce of the game. The U.S. would continue to control the game as they limited Norway to a draw for one point in the ninth end.
“We were really happy up one, playing nine. We knew we needed to force them to one and come home with the hammer tied, which we hadn’t done yet. It was really big. The ninth end we got in a little bit of trouble. But Greg made two clutch draws for us and we were able to get away with a single and now coming home tied,” said Tilker, who also competed in the 2013 World Men’s Championship.
The early parts of the 10th end were not textbook perfect for the U.S. but Norway’s final stone over-curled a bit and left three-fourths of the four-foot open for the Americans to draw down into for the win. Alas, the final draw was too firm to score the winning point.
“We knew it was warm out of hand, so we were right off it after maybe six or seven feet of sweeping. I think in hindsight if Colin and I were right off it completely that rock might stop in time. Greg has been throwing some good draws but just happened to be a little heavy on the wrong one,” Tilker said.
In the only other game going on in the morning session, it took an extra end, but Japan secured its first win of the championship with a 7-6 victory over the Netherlands.
Up next the U.S. will battle Scotland’s Bruce Mouat rink (2-1) this afternoon. The game will be featured live on the Olympic Channel at 1:30 p.m. PDT.
Norway 200 010 101 2 – 7
*USA 011 100 020 0 – 5
*last stone in first end (hammer)
A complete TV schedule is posted at https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Curling/Features/2018/March/27/US-TV--and-webstream-schedule-for-2018-World-Mens-Championship.
Here is a look at Team USA’s round robin & TV schedule (all times local, PDT):
Tuesday, April 3:
1:30 p.m., USA vs. Sweden (Niklas Edin) – Live on the Olympic Channel
Wednesday, April 4:
8:30 a.m., USA vs. Russia (Alexey Timofeev) – Live on the Olympic Channel app & then aired on NBCSN at 9 a.m. (same day delay)
1:30 p.m., USA vs. Germany (Alexander Baumann) – Live on the Olympic Channel
Thursday, April 5:
1:30 p.m., USA vs. Italy (Joel Retornaz)
6:30 p.m., USA vs. Canada (Brad Gushue) – Live on the Olympic Channel app & then aired on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. (same day delay)
Friday, April 6:
8:30 a.m., USA vs. China (Deija Zou) – Live on the Olympic Channel
6:30 p.m., USA vs. Switzerland (Marc Pfister) – Live on the Olympic Channel
Saturday, April 7:
8:30 a.m., Qualification games (#3 vs. #6; #4 vs. #5) – Live on the Olympic Channel app
1:30 p.m., Semifinal #1 – Live on the Olympic Channel
6:30 p.m., Semifinal #2 – Live on the Olympic Channel
Sunday, April 8:
12 p.m., Bronze-medal game – Live on the Olympic Channel
5 p.m., Gold-medal game – Live on NBCSN
USA round robin results:
USA 6, Japan 5
Netherlands 6, USA 4
Korea 7, USA 5
Norway 7, USA 5
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