FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2019
USA still in playoff contention despite loss at 2019 World Men’s Championship
(LETHBRIDGE, Alta.) – John Shuster and the American men are still very much in the playoff conversation but the path was made a little more difficult with a loss this morning to Sweden at the 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship.
Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and teammates Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.), and Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.) will need to beat Norway (2-9) tonight in order to secure a spot in Saturday’s playoffs after an 8-4 loss to Niklas Edin’s team.
It wasn’t Team USA’s best outing today and a disastrous seventh end gave the reigning world champions an easy shot for four points to essentially put the game away.
“We just didn’t execute, didn’t finish. You can’t give up four to Niklas,” Plys said. “We had some sloppy starts to ends and missed shots all the way through the lineup and that’s a team you can’t do that against. You gotta bring it.”
The U.S. men are currently sitting in sixth place with two round robin sessions left to be played at the ENMAX Centre today. The top six will move on to Saturday’s playoff round.
“We just have to sharpen up and figure out what we need to do to make more shots. There were a lot of shots made in that game, but it was just one or two an end where it just got away from us. Tonight, we’re going to have to sharpen up and get ready to play on Saturday morning,” Plys said.
The U.S. team is now in a must-win situation at 7 tonight against Norway’s Magnus Ramsfjell (2-9).
“We have two more tournaments this year and neither one of them matter at this point – we play the whole season to get to the playoffs at the worlds and go from there. If that doesn’t motivate you enough to get up and put everything into it, sweep every rock, and make as many shots as you can then we don’t deserve to be here,” Plys said.
Sweden (10-1) secured a spot in Saturday’s semifinals and will earn the No. 1 playoff seed, despite having one more round robin game to play today against Italy (7-3), which is trying to make its first-ever playoff appearance at this event. Canada, Switzerland and Japan are all tied with 8-3 records. Scotland (6-4) is still in the mix at this point as well.
Sweden started the game feeling the pressure from the U.S. and made a double raise takeout to score two points. The U.S. followed up with a hit and stay to even the scoreboard in the second end.
Sweden was unable to get anything going in the third or fourth ends, which were both blanks. The fourth end did, however, have some comedy of sorts as the Swedes accidentally threw out of order, which resulted in their second – Rasmus Wranaa – throwing the final stone of the end when their third threw his stone too early.
A shaky fifth end in which Sweden looked poised to hang a big number on the scoreboard ended up working out in USA’s favor. Shuster played a great freeze with his final stone to force Sweden into a difficult draw for two. Plys was able to sweep Edin’s final stone just deep enough so it was out of second position.
Sweden was in control of the sixth end and Shuster was forced to draw for a single. Another shaky end followed for the U.S. team that had a similar early miss like in the fifth end, when they averted disaster. This time Sweden went on the attack. The U.S. was all in at this point and used Plys’s first vice stone to draw in behind the Swedish stones into the back four-foot for shot rock. While that stone flustered Sweden for awhile, Shuster’s first skip stone didn’t get buried and set up a double takeout for Edin to open the door for the Swedes. Shuster played the hit and roll with his next stone, but the shooter rolled out after a successful takeout to give Edin a routine draw for four.
The U.S. had a couple of chances for two points melt away in the eighth end. Shuster’s final double takeout just nudged an American stone hanging off the back of the rings out of second count as they took a point. Sweden made a draw for one point in the ninth end that prompted the handshakes from the Americans to end the game early.
*Sweden 200 010 401 x – 8
USA 020 001 010 x – 4
*last rock in first end
Other Draw 18 session scores: Canada 10, Switzerland 3; Germany 6, China 4; Russia 8, Norway 5
Sweden 10-1 Q/SF
Japan 8-3 Q
Q=qualified to playoffs
How to watch: In partnership with World Curling TV, the Olympic Channel and NBCSN are providing live coverage of eight of Team USA’s 12 round robin games plus the playoffs. To see the complete schedule, go to https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Curling/Features/2019/March/26/TV-schedule-for-World-Mens-Championship.
Live scores & social media: Live scores are posted at http://www.worldcurling.org/wmcc2019. USA Curling is posting game recaps and photos after each U.S. game at www.usacurl.org. The official event hashtags are #wmcc2019 and #curling.
Playoff format: At the conclusion of the 12-game round robin, the top six teams will advance to the playoffs. The teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 will move directly to the semifinals. The other four playoff rinks will compete in qualification playoffs. The winners of the semifinals move on to the gold-medal game while the losing sides compete for bronze.
Round robin results:
Sweden 8, USA 4
USA 10, Japan 4
Canada 6, USA 3
USA 7, China 5
USA 8, Italy 3
Switzerland 7, USA 4
USA 10, Russia 3
USA 9, Scotland 8
USA 8, Germany 6
USA 6, Korea 3
Netherlands 6, USA 5
USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Toyota, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Carhartt, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, Thorne, ISS (Ice, Sports & Solar), and Twin Cities Orthopedics, and is partnered with Brakebush, 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).