Switzerland keeps Team USA out of win column with eighth end steal

By Terry L. Davis | March 14, 2018, 3:40 a.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 14, 2018

 

Switzerland steals two points for win over Americans

 

(GANGNEUNG, South Korea) – Kirk Black and Team USA took Switzerland to the final stone this morning but were unable to find their way back into the win column in round robin action at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

 

Black (San Antonio, Texas) and teammates Steve Emt (Hebron, Conn.), Justin Marshall (Evansville, Wis.), and Penny Greely (Green Bay, Wis.) saw their win evaporate when Switzerland’s Felix Wagner rink made a game-saving double in the eighth end at the Gangneung Curling Centre. The Swiss would go on to steal the final end for a 7-4 victory.

 

“The ends were set up and we couldn’t finish them on the back end,” Emt said. “That being said, it still came down to the eighth end where we had an opportunity. We could have been up big, didn’t work out. We had a chance to win it.”

 

The U.S. team, which includes three first-time Paralympians, had chances to score multiple points several times today but struggled with the final stones of the ends as they suffered a seventh loss of the championship.

 

“There’s no losing, just learning. We’re learning a lot and we’re still a young team. This lineup has been together for three months while some of these guys have played together for 12 years,” Emt said.

 

At 1-7, the young U.S. team is using its final round robin games as a chance to learn more about competing on the grandest stage.

 

“We’re right there. The first couple of games we were getting our wheels under us and getting used to the ice. The last four games we’ve put together a nice little run,” said Emt, who skipped the team at last year’s world championship. “We’re all making shots. Unfortunately, we’ve had times when each one of us has missed a crucial shot. It’s all four of us out there.”

 

The Americans return to the ice this afternoon in the ninth game of the round robin to take on Great Britain (5-3).

 

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is how my team has my back,” Black said about his skipping debut. “It’s very humbling. I love them and I’m grateful for them being by my side.”

 

The U.S. had a nice end set up to open the game but the final stone rolled out after a takeout and the Americans had to settle for a single. A missed takeout by the U.S. late in the second end allowed Switzerland to draw for two points and a 2-1 lead. The U.S. needed to hit and stay in the third end to score a point but lost its shooter stone after the takeout as the Swiss stole a point.

 

In the fourth end, the U.S. had a chance to score two again, but the final draw attempt was heavy and the team accepted a single to cut into the Swiss lead at 3-2. Switzerland was poised to score multiple points in the fifth end but a nice takeout from Black coupled with a light Swiss draw only resulted in a single for Wagner’s team.

 

The U.S. took advantage of a missed takeout by Switzerland in the sixth end to score two points to tie the game. After holding the Swiss to a single in the seventh when their final draw was light, the U.S. got into good position to score two in the final end when Marshall chipped out a Swiss shot rock that was partially buried in the back side of the eight-foot.

 

Emt’s first draw attempt was light, which allowed the Swiss to go after the American shot stone with a takeout. Emt’s second draw, however, was a gem that landed on the button behind a center guard. Switzerland narrowly missed the takeout with Wagner’s first attempt. Black drew into third position in the top of the 12 foot with his first skip stone. However, it set up a double takeout for Wagner as the U.S. hopes for victory were dashed. The only shot options left were both difficult and the final takeout attempt from the U.S. was narrow as Switzerland secured two points and the win to keep them in the playoff hunt.

 

“Their skip made a heck of a double. It is what it is,” Black said about Wagner’s last shot of the game that essentially sealed the victory for the Swiss.

 

After taking the evening session off tonight, the U.S. team will conclude their Paralympic journey on Thursday with games against reigning world champions Norway (3-4) in the morning and Slovakia (3-5) in the evening draw.

 

Line score:

Switzerland        021 010 12 – 7

*USA                   100 102 00 – 4

*last stone in first end (hammer)

 

Other session scores: China 9, Slovakia 2; Great Britain 8, Germany 3; Finland 6, Sweden 5

 

Round robin standings:

China                  7-1

Korea                  6-1

Canada               5-2

Great Britain      5-3

NPA*                   4-3

Germany            4-4

Switzerland        4-4

Norway               3-4

Slovakia              3-5

Finland               2-6

Sweden              2-6

USA                     1-7

*Neutral Paralympic Athletes

 

TV and webstreaming:

All games are streaming live at www.nbcsports.com and on the NBC Sports app with TV coverage on the Olympic Channel and NBCSN. A complete schedule is posted at https://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Features/2018/February/27/NBC-Announces-Commentators-For-2018-Paralympic-Winter-Games.

 

Round robin schedule (all times local KST):

Thursday, March 15:

9:35 a.m., USA vs. Norway

7:35 p.m., USA vs. Slovakia

 

Playoffs:

Friday, March 16:

9:35 a.m., tiebreaker games, if needed

3:35 p.m., semifinals

 

Saturday, March 17:

9:35 a.m., bronze-medal game

2:35 p.m., gold-medal game

 

USA round robin results:

Korea 7, USA 3

Germany 6, USA 4

USA 10, Sweden 2

Finland 8, USA 5

Neutral Paralympic Athletes 6, USA 4

China 6, USA 4

Canada 6, USA 5

Switzerland 7, USA 4

 

Useful event links:

https://www.teamusa.org/us-paralympics

http://www.worldcurling.org/pwg2018

https://www.paralympic.org/

https://www.pyeongchang2018.com/en/paralympics/index

 

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For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, terry.davis@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile).