FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2018
USA takes Norway to last rock in round robin action
(GANGNEUNG, South Korea) – Norway kept its playoff hopes alive when an official measure on the final stone of the game gave them a 5-4 victory over Kirk Black and Team USA this morning at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Norway’s Rune Lorentsen rink earned the all-important sixth win that at the very least will earn them a tiebreaker spot with two sessions remaining in the round robin to determine the fourth team after China (8-1), Canada (8-2) and Korea (8-2) to compete in Friday’s semifinals.
Black (San Antonio, Texas) and teammates Steve Emt (Hebron, Conn.), Justin Marshall (Evansville, Wis.), Penny Greely (Green Bay, Wis.), and Meghan Lino (East Falmouth, Mass.) are now 2-8 but have pride in taking the reigning world champions down to the final shot of yet another very close match.
“Our record is what it is, but you can see that we can play with any team out in the world so we’re right there. The stones aren’t quite falling where we want them to but, we’re there,” Black said.
With Emt throwing final stones for the second straight game, the U.S. team gave Norway a great match as they worked in earnest to get another win on the board. In a tie game heading into the final end with the last-stone advantage, the U.S. nearly stole the winning point but the measurement went in Norway’s favor to keep them in the playoff hunt.
“For our team being so new and being in every game – down to the last stone for the majority of our games – that says a lot. We want the wins, but what a great outlook for Team USA wheelchair curling,” said Black, who shot 64 percent today – his best game of the week.
Norway was the first to score in this morning’s game when the final American stone of the opening end was a hair heavy, awarding the Norwegians with a single steal.
A great double takeout with Marshall’s first stone coupled with a well-executed hit and roll from Black, set up the deuce opportunity for the U.S. in the second end. However, the final stone rolled out after the takeout and the Americans settled for a single instead. In the third end, the U.S. got a stone in the top of the four-foot guarded for the whole end to set up a single steal.
Norway took advantage of a missed takeout late in the fourth end and secured the deuce with a takeout. The Norwegians then added a point in the fifth end as they got stones in the house early and were able to keep one around and protected. Emt’s runback attempt with the final stone didn’t work out and Norway took a point to go up 4-2.
The Americans used a nice takeout through a port from Black to set up a deuce in the sixth end to tie the game as Emt drew into the rings for two points with the final stone.
After Norway blanked the seventh end, the U.S. team worked fervently to set up a steal in the eighth end. Black’s takeout of a Norwegian stone partially hidden behind a center guard placed two U.S. stones in the rings. Norway tried to double them out, but the U.S. still had one in scoring position on the side of the eight-foot. Black was then able to put a guard on the center line to block the path in for Norway. Lorentsen opted not to peel the guard, instead tried to draw around it with his vice skip’s final stone. The result was a light draw that left his stone in the top of the house in third position. Emt then further cluttered the top of the house to take away one potential path. Norway’s next draw attempt settled into first position by maybe a quarter inch, forcing the U.S. to go after it with Emt’s final stone of the game. The shot would be narrow. Norway tried to draw another one in just in case they didn’t have shot stone but it was heavy. It wouldn’t matter anyway as the measurement showed that Norway had score the winning point.
“We were pretty sure it was Norway, but we had to measure,” Black said. “Steve played a phenomenal game and I know how it feels to be throwing that last rock and the target seems smaller than it really is. It’s tough, but he threw it a little narrow, and Norway got the win.”
The U.S. will finish the competition tonight against Slovakia (3-6) as the round robin comes to a close at the Gangneung Curling Centre. The semifinals will take place at 3:35 p.m. Friday with the medal games on Saturday.
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.
*USA 011 002 00 – 4
Norway 100 210 01 – 5
*last stone in first end (hammer)
Other session scores: Canada 6, Germany 2; Korea 5, Great Britain 4; NPA 6, Switzerland 4
Round robin standings:
Great Britain 5-5
*Neutral Paralympic Athletes
9:35 a.m., tiebreaker games, if needed
3:35 p.m., semifinals
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
USA 9, Great Britain 3
Norway 5, USA 4
Useful event links:
For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, email@example.com, 608-338-9900 (mobile).