FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2018
USA slips to 1-4 in round robin play at 361° World Men’s Championship
(LAS VEGAS) – In Vegas, 7-7-7 typically means you’ve hit the jackpot. In curling, for Team USA, it’s been the number that’s haunted the Americans for the past three games as their opponents have scored that winning number to defeat Greg Persinger’s team at the 361° World Men’s Curling Championship.
Team USA has been its own worst enemy in losing four straight games on the last stone at Orleans Arena. In an extra end this afternoon, the U.S. had a draw into the four-foot lined up for the win but came up one inch shy as Scotland’s Bruce Mouat rink stole the winning point to defeat the U.S., 7-6.
Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and teammates Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.), and Phil Tilker (Seattle) are now 1-4 in the 12-game round robin.
“It’s really tough. To lose the four games we’ve lost, the way we’ve lost them, it’s difficult,” Hufman said. “Obviously, we need to keep doing what we’re doing – we’re in positions to win games and not finishing. All you can do is keep getting yourself in those spots. I think we’re doing all the right things.”
If history has shown anything this season, a slow start to a tournament doesn’t mean the dream is over.
“We’ll be fine. If we play like that, we’re gonna beat a lot of the teams here,” said Ruohonen, who calls the game and throws vice skip stones. “They played great and we played pretty damn good too. We had what we wanted. It just didn’t happen and it wasn’t our day today.”
The U.S. has seven games remaining in the weeklong round robin with Sweden (4-0) on tap on Tuesday afternoon.
“We played great. We missed a few shots here in the first game, but this game was just an unbelievable game. The shots being made were just crazy. A lot of runback doubles and triples and we got to the point we needed again but just one inch short,” Ruohonen said. “It’s one of those days you wanna forget in a hurry, but we’re still okay and have a lot of games left. We just have to finish a little bit better.”
The U.S. was forced to draw for a single point against two Scottish stones in the opening end to get the offense going. Scotland set up the deuce early in the second end and drew into the eight-foot to secure the points. The Americans countered with a draw for two in the third end. Keeping the deuce theme alive, Scotland battled back with a soft-weight takeout to score two in the fourth.
The U.S. set up another deuce in the sixth end and were able to capitalize with a draw into the eight-foot to take back the lead. In the eighth end, Scotland gambled on a split for three points and threw it heavy, which resulted in them getting just a single point. The U.S. got into a pickle in the ninth end and had to settle for a takeout to score one – and a modest 6-5 lead.
Scotland played a fantastic raise double takeout in the 10th end that should have set them up for a deuce for the win. Persinger’s first stone over-curled as the U.S. tried to place a stone behind the center guard. Scotland went to chip it out, but the throw was narrow and the stone rubbed on the center guard instead to give the Americans another chance. The U.S. played a freeze that forced Scotland to make a hit for one point to send the game to an extra end.
The 11h end was going along smoothly with two successful ticks from Tilker, some solid peels from Hufman and so on. But on the final stone – a draw into the four-foot for the win – the curling Gods said “Not today” as the draw came up an inch light.
“I don’t know what to say. I feel bad cause Greg threw that one pretty good. It was just a little bit wide and we had to wait for a second maybe [on the sweep call] and that’s the difference,” Ruohonen said. “It’s a really tough day. You play two of the best teams in the world and have the hammer to win with a four-foot draw. That’s what you want. Even a split would have been okay, but that hurts. It hurts bad.”
Scotland 020 200 010 11 – 7
*USA 102 002 001 00 – 6
*last stone in first end (hammer)
Draw 7 scores: Canada 8, Italy 7; China 9, Korea 4; Switzerland 7, Germany 4
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
Scotland 7, USA 6
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