FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2018
Russia sets up winning points to sweep past USA at 361° World Men’s Championship
(LAS VEGAS) – Once thought to be a lucky number in Sin City, the No. 7 has been a negative for Team USA five games in a row now as Russia swept past Greg Persinger and the American men, 7-6, this morning in round robin play at the 361° World Men’s Curling Championship.
Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and teammates Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.), and Phil Tilker (Seattle) have now lost six straight games by small margins in the 12-game round robin at Orleans Arena.
Russia’s Alexey Timofeev rink was able to set up the deuce in the 10th and capitalized when Persinger’s hit and roll attempt with the final American stone didn’t get into scoring position. With the winning stones still in place, Russia did not have to throw the final shot of the game.
“That wasn’t our best game out there,” said Tilker, who also competed at the 2013 World Men’s Championship. “We had a few good ends and we had a few bad ends. Maybe we should have played a different shot on Colin’s first shot there in the tenth end. That loss doesn’t hurt near as bad as the losses against Norway and Scotland because we played a lot better in those games and thought we deserved to win them. If you don’t play well against any of these teams here, you’re gonna get beat.”
The U.S. won its opening game to Japan back on Saturday but has suffered heartbreak after heartbreak since. The Americans are now 1-6 overall and have lost five games to opponents who have scored seven points on them.
“We have to win out to have a chance. That was a huge loss. You win that and you’re still in the thick of things. To lose that one is pretty tough,” Ruohonen said. “The atmosphere is great and we’d like to be playing at the end of the week, but I don’t think that’s going to happen, unfortunately.”
The U.S. had a chance for two in the opening end but a heavy draw with Persinger’s first stone allowed the Russians to draw a stone into the four-foot that forced the U.S. into a more difficult final shot – a runback that didn’t pan out as they earned just one.
Timofeev played a really nice freeze with his first skip stone of the third end to set up a deuce for Russia. The Americans were playing a double takeout in the fourth end in hopes of scoring two points but didn’t make contact with either stone as Russia stole two points to expand the lead to 4-1.
“We talked about playing the hit there and taking our easy one. But there was a thin double for two and they wanted to go for it. And if you do that we’ve gotta make ‘em and we just didn’t make that one. You have to take risks sometimes and sometimes they don’t always pay off,” Tilker said about the fourth-end steal.
The U.S. would begin its rally in the fifth end with a hit and stay to secure two points. Good shooting from the U.S. forced Russia into a double takeout to score two in the sixth end but their attempt wasn’t successful as the Americans stole two points back. Russia was only able to put one point on the scoreboard in the seventh end, giving the hammer back to the U.S. in the eighth end. The U.S. ended up having to blank the eighth end and had a tough shot to try to score two in the ninth – a side tap to move a stone into the four-foot – and were a little wide and accepted a single point.
The U.S. allowed Russia to get multiple stones in scoring position in the 10th end and had trouble with their draw weight. Ruohonen said he regrets not attempting to draw under the center guard with Hufman’s first stone of the 10th end to force Russia to play a peel but acknowledged that the team had many chances after that.
“I was probably four inches heavy with my second one and Greg was a foot heavy with his first one. If we make either of those shots we’ve got pressure on them,” Ruohonen said.
The U.S. team will have a quick turnaround as they face Germany (1-6) in the 1:30 p.m. session today.
The top six teams will qualify to Saturday’s playoffs. The two teams with the best round robin performance will earn direct berths to the semifinals. The other four teams will play in qualification games (#3 vs #6 and #4 vs. #5) on Saturday morning with the winners moving on to the semifinals.
*USA 100 022 001 0 – 6
Russia 002 200 100 2 – 7
*last stone in first end (hammer)
Other draw results: Sweden 9, Italy 4; Canada 8, Norway 2; Scotland 7, Korea 2
Here is a look at Team USA’s round robin & TV schedule (all times local, PDT):
Wednesday, April 4:
1:30 p.m., USA vs. Germany (Alexander Baumann) – Live on the Olympic Channel
5 p.m. Team USA autograph session & Up Close & Personal, The Patch
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
Sweden 7, USA 2
Russia 7, USA 6
USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Cheetos, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, Thorne, BalancePlus, ISS Ice, Sports & Solar, IHG, and Brakebush, and is partnered with Laurie Artiss Ltd. – The Pin People, United Airlines, 12th End Sports Network, IHG, and CurlingZone.
For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile).