Big end fuels Italian win over US men

By Terry L. Davis | Feb. 15, 2018, 3:57 a.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 15, 2018

Italy takes down U.S. men with final stone

(GANGNEUNG, South Korea) – Italy’s Joel Retornaz rink could be the surprise team of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as they improved to 2-1 with a last-rock victory over Team USA’s John Shuster rink this afternoon.

With Amos Mosaner throwing last rocks, the Italians dashed the American comeback for a 10-9 victory at Gangneung Curling Centre.

“It was definitely a roller coaster. There were lots of ups and downs in this game. We took the lead in the beginning with a big end and they came back and we got a bit upset about that,” said Retornaz, who throws vice stones for the Italians. “We were able to react and take the lead back, and then they came back again! So, we had to draw to the eight-foot in the last end to win. You cannot expect to win games easily here.”

After falling behind early in the game when they gave up a five-point end, the U.S. team rallied in this up-and-down match – and nearly stole the win.

“It’s something we’re used to. We’re a very resilient team. Even a big end like that doesn’t usually rattle us too much. Five is stretching the limits of what we are able to accomplish. But, we got it to even at the break and felt like it was our game after that,” George said. “One slip up in six that really cost us there and handed them a three. Once we got it a five-end game, we felt like we were going to win. In the end, too many small mistakes in the wrong way.”

The U.S. is now 1-1 in the nine-game round robin. Canada (3-0) and Sweden (2-0) lead the pack.

“We got way down and were able to build a comeback. We did not get frustrated. It was definitely Italy’s game to win after the third end. We battled ourselves back, got us to the tenth end and had a good chance to win,” said Coach Phill Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.).

The Americans had control of the opening end, forcing Mosaner to draw the button for a single point. The U.S. men had a deuce set up in the following end until a shooter stone rolled out to allow Italy to remove the other American counter. Shuster was eventually forced to draw for a single point.

A disastrous third end saw every shot by the U.S. team be slightly off target to allow Italy to pile granite in the rings. Mosaner had a relatively simple draw into the four-foot to score five points. Not backing down, the Americans set themselves up nicely for Shuster to convert a double takeout to score three points and cut into the Italian lead. Two very nice stones from Shuster to conclude the fifth end forced Italy into a difficult draw to save the end. However, Mosaner’s stone was heavy and the U.S. team stole two points to get right back into the game.

Italy was a hitting machine in the sixth end with Mosaner securing three points with a double takeout with the final shot. The U.S. was building toward a deuce in the seventh end until a draw slipped through the back of the house. The end was eventually blanked, and in the eighth end, the U.S. took advantage of half shots by the Italians to set up a deuce.

Italy inadvertently removed its shot stone in the ninth end, allowing the U.S. men to pile granite around the four-foot. A well-swept tap-back with Shuster’s final stone left Mosaner looking at two, maybe three, American stones in scoring position. The final shot from Mosaner was a hair heavy and the U.S. men took another point to tie the game. The U.S. got two stones in the rings to force Mosaner into a stressful draw for the win, which was nearly over-thrown as the Italians escaped with the win.

The U.S. men will return to the ice on Friday for two matches. In the morning session, the U.S. will battle Sweden (2-0) and the take on Denmark (0-2) in the night draw.

It was a tricky sheet. It was curling off the wall a lot more than it was curling away from the wall. It was tough,” said Landsteiner, who played lead for the U.S. team at the 2014 Olympics as well. “You could see that some of the shots that were being played opposite of what they normally would. Or we avoided that side of the ice. In the end of the day – don’t give up five. But, we still battled and we were just short of winning.”

For a complete photo gallery from the game, go to https://www.facebook.com/teamusacurl.

Line score:

USA       010 320 021 0 – 9

*Italy    105 003 000 1 – 10

*last rock in first end

Other game scores: Great Britain 6, Japan 5; Switzerland 9, Denmark 7; Canada 7, Norway 4

Men’s standings:

Canada               3-0

Sweden              2-0

Great Britain      2-1

Italy                     2-1

Japan                  1-1

USA                     1-1

Switzerland        1-2

Denmark            0-2

Korea                  0-2

Norway               0-2

Women’s standings:

Japan                  2-0

Korea                  1-0

Sweden              1-0

China                  1-1

Great Britain      1-1

OAR                     1-1

USA                     1-1

Canada               0-1

Switzerland        0-1

Denmark            0-2

USA men’s round robin results:

USA 11, Korea 7

Italy 10, USA 9

USA women’s round robin results:

Japan 10, USA 5

USA 7, Great Britain 4

Round robin schedule:

Thursday, Feb. 15:

USA women vs. Switzerland (Silvana Tirinzoni), 8:05 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 16:

USA men vs. Sweden (Niklas Edin), 9:05 a.m.

USA men vs. Denmark (Rasmus Stjerne), 8:05 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 17:

USA women vs. Olympic Athlete From Russia (Victoria Moiseeva), 9:05 a.m.

USA women vs. Canada (Rachel Homan), 8:05 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 18:

USA men vs. Japan (Yusuke Morozumi), 9:05 a.m.

USA men vs. Norway (Thomas Ulsrud), 8:05 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 19:

USA women vs. Denmark (Madeleine Dupont), 9:05 a.m.

USA men vs. Canada (Kevin Koe), 2:05 p.m.

USA women vs. China (Bingyu Wang), 8:05 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 20:

USA women vs. Korea (Eunjung Kim), 2:05 p.m.

USA men vs. Switzerland (Peter de Cruz), 8:05 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 21:

USA men vs. Great Britain (Kyle Smith), 2:05 p.m.

USA women vs. Sweden (Anna Hasselborg), 8:05 p.m.

Playoff schedule:

Thursday, Feb. 22:

Tiebreaker games, if needed, 9:05 a.m.

Men’s semifinals, 8:05 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 23:

Men’s bronze-medal game, 3:35 p.m.

Women’s semifinals, 8:05 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 24:

Men’s gold-medal game, 3:35 p.m.

Women’s bronze-medal game, 8:05 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 25:

Women’s gold-medal game, 9:05 a.m.

All games are streaming live at www.nbcolympics.com and on the NBC Sports app with TV coverage live or on tape delay on NBCSN, USA Network and CNBC. A complete schedule is posted at http://www.nbcolympics.com/live-stream-schedule#/.

For more information on the U.S. teams, go to https://www.teamusa.org/usa-curling/2018-us-olympic-curling-team.

To follow along, go to https://www.pyeongchang2018.com/en/game-time/results/OWG2018/en/curling/daily-schedule.htm

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For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, terry.davis@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 0-104-364-8015 (Korean mobile).