Win over Japan moves USA closer to playoffs in Lethbridge

By Terry L. Davis | April 05, 2019, 12:38 a.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 4, 2019

 

USA closing in on playoff berth at 2019 World Men’s Championship

 

(LETHBRIDGE, Alta.) – John Shuster and the American men are inching closer and closer to a spot in Saturday’s playoffs after a convincing win tonight over Japan at the 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship.

 

The 10-4 victory over Yuta Matsumura improves Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and teammates Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) to 7-3 in the 12-game round robin at the ENMAX Centre.

 

“We came out and executed well early. For a change we had the hammer to start the game and came out and got a big three points in the first end,” Shuster said. “It’s a little tricky to play defense for nine ends of curling but we tried to stick to the offense early and then defense.”

 

The U.S. team is aiming for its fourth straight playoff appearance at the world men’s championship and can sew it up tomorrow when they take on playoff-bound Sweden (9-1) and Norway (2-8).

 

“I’m very, very confident in my abilities and the team’s abilities so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully a few more days,” said Shuster, who advanced to the playoffs at this event in 2017 (4th place) and 2016 (bronze).

 

Japan (8-3) secured its playoff berth earlier today to join Sweden (9-1) in Saturday’s playoffs. The top six teams advance to the playoffs with the best two teams advancing directly to the semifinals. The four remaining berths will be determined tomorrow, most likely after the morning session. At 7-3, the U.S. team is currently sitting in fifth position.

 

It was a good bounce back win for Team USA after this morning’s loss to Canada.

 

“We actually played pretty good against Canada, too, and tried to roll that momentum forward,” Hamilton said. “We’re playing really good this week. Every team here is good so we’re trying to give the same attention and discipline and I think it worked out really well for us.”

 

The Americans had another strong shooting output as well as they recorded 89 percent for the game.

 

“This is definitely the best curling I’ve pulled off at a world championship or Olympics so it feels good,” Hamilton said. “But, any game it can head south so I just have to make sure to stay sharp and do the same routine before the game.”

 

Team USA got off to a strong start to tonight’s match as they pounced for three points with a takeout in the opening end. The U.S. team then applied pressure in the second and forced Japan to draw the button to take a point. The Americans continued their high-octane offense into the third end and took advantage when Japan’s shooter rolled out after a takeout to give Shuster a draw for two.

 

The U.S. would steal a single in the fourth end when Japan’s final stone wrecked on a guard. A really nice freeze with Shuster’s last stone of the fifth end took away Japan’s first chance at a deuce. Matsumura was forced to draw for one to put another point on the scoreboard.

 

Japan started out the second half on a strong note – getting a rock behind a corner guard and then multiple stones eventually behind a USA rock in the top of the house. Shuster was left with a soft-weight double takeout to score one. Japan was able to capitalize on a half-shot from the U.S. in the seventh end to line up a takeout to score their lone deuce of the match. The eighth end quickly turned in favor of the Americans and when Matsumura’s freeze attempt was light, Shuster had a draw into the eight-foot to score three and close the door on game No. 10.

 

Line score:

*USA     302 101 03x x – 10

Japan    010 010 20x x – 4

*last rock in first end

 

Other Draw 17 session scores: Korea 8, Norway 5; Italy 6, Netherlands 4; Scotland 8, Canada 6

 

Draw 16 scores (2 p.m. today): Switzerland 6, Japan 5 (extra end); Sweden 7, Korea 5; Germany 12, Russia 6; Scotland 9, China 6

 

Standings:

Sweden              9-1Q

Switzerland        8-2

Japan                  8-3Q

Canada               7-3

USA                     7-3

Italy                     7-3

Scotland             6-4

Netherlands      3-7

Germany            3-7

Russia                 3-7

China                  2-8

Norway               2-8

Korea                  1-10

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.

 

Team USA schedule (all times local, Mountain Time):

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

Friday, 7 p.m.: USA vs. Norway (Magnus Ramsfjell)

 

Round robin results:

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.

 

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