FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2019
USA to take on Japan in playoffs at 2019 World Men’s Championship
(LETHBRIDGE, Alta.) – The American men are headed to the playoffs for the fourth straight year after today’s results at the 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship.
John Shuster and the U.S. team got past Norway’s Magnus Ramsfjell rink, 8-4, tonight to finish the round robin with an 8-4 record to secure the No. 5 playoff seed.
Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and teammates Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.), and Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.) will now take on No. 4 seed Japan (9-3) in tomorrow’s qualification playoffs at 9 a.m. MT the ENMAX Centre.
“We’ve played all year to get the ‘Q’ next to our name so we’re pretty happy to have it. We’re stoked,” Plys said.
Sweden (11-1), the defending world champs, and Switzerland (9-3) earned the top two seeds and are awarded with direct berths in tomorrow’s semifinals. No. 3 Canada (9-3) and No. 6 Scotland (8-4) will meet in the other qualification playoff at 9 a.m. Sweden, as the top seed, will take on the playoff winner with the highest seed at 2 p.m. while the Swiss men, who defeated China tonight to earn the No. 2 ranking, will take on the other playoff winner in the 7 p.m. semifinal.
The American men took an early lead tonight and then limited Norway’s offense to secure their playoff seed.
“We can probably sharpen a few things up. We came out there and executed right away. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to defend for 10 ends with the five-rock rule, but we did a good job with that,” Shuster said.
The U.S. opened strong with a routine takeout to score two points and control the game. Norway attempted a tap for one point in the second end, but the final stone sailed too deep and the Americans stole a point to advance the lead to 3-0. Norway was attempting to play a soft tap on a U.S. stone Shuster placed in the back corner of the house in an effort to score two, but Ramsfjell’s stone slid out the back of the house as the Americans stole another point.
Norway was able to capitalize on a few misses from the U.S. team in the fourth end and made an open takeout to score two points. Sloppy play in the fifth led to the U.S. drawing against three Norwegian stones to collect a single point. The U.S. came out strong in the second half and forced Norway to draw for a point while facing five American stones.
The U.S. wasn’t as precise as usual in the seventh end and ended up trying to play a split to score two but the final stone over-curled and they accepted a single instead.
The U.S. was all over Norway in the eighth end and Ramsfjell had to convert a double takeout and move a third stone over just to muster a single point. The U.S. would score two more in the ninth end and run Norway out of stones in the 10th and they finished the round robin on a winning note.
“It was nice to get some ice time. I definitely didn’t play my strongest game but it was fun to get out there and play in front of a big crowd,” said Dropkin, 23, who played tonight in place of Landsteiner.
*USA 211 010 102 x – 8
Norway 000 201 010 x – 4
*last rock in first end
Other Draw 20 session scores: Switzerland 8, China 4; Scotland 9, Italy 5; Canada 6, Netherlands 4
Draw 19 scores: Sweden 7, Italy 4; Scotland 9, Germany 2; Netherlands 8, Korea 7; Japan 7, Russia 5
Sweden 11-1 Q/SF
Switzerland 9-3 Q/SF
Canada 9-3 Q
Japan 9-3 Q
USA 8-4 Q
Scotland 8-4 Q
Q=qualified to playoffs
Q/SF=qualified to semifinals
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:
USA 8, Norway 4
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).