OMAHA, Nebraska -- John Shuster'ss team moved Heath McCormick's rink from the unbeaten ranks this afternoon as the action at the 2018 US Olympic Team Trials for Curling continued at Baxter Arena.
Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and teammates Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) took control of the second half of the match to hand McCormick’s team its first loss of the double round robin. Shuster’s team is now 2-0 and they’ll face Craig Brown’s squad (1-1) tonight.
McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario) and his team of Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.), and Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.) drop to 2-1 overall. They’ll be back on the ice against Todd Birr’s squad.
Birr’s team got into the win column with a 9-6 triumph over Brady Clark’s team, which slips to 0-3. Birr (Blaine, Minn.) and teammates John Benton (Blaine, Minn.), Hunter Clawson (Clarksville, Md.), and Tom O’Connor (Brooklyn Center, Minn.) are now 1-1 after a loss last night to Brown.
“It’s gonna be a long week,” said Birr, who won the men’s national title in 2007 and a bronze medal at the subsequent world men’s championship. “I wouldn’t describe it as a tough loss last night. We gave up a three early and then gave up a steal, but just kept playing. We also figured we could work our way back into it, but we didn’t. Same thing today, this game got a little fuzzy but we just kept playing. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. There are some teams that are playing really well right now but it’s a long week.”
In the women’s division, Nina Roth’s team bounced back from a loss last night to defeat Cory Christensen’s rink, 7-6, in an extra end.
“After last night’s loss, we still had good things in that loss, and were pretty positive that we could come out here swinging and control the game. I think we did that for the most part,” Roth said.
Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and her team of Tabitha Peterson (St. Paul, Minn.), Aileen Geving (Duluth, Minn.), and Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) controlled the scoreboard but Christensen’s team battled back to the tie the game in the 10th when they set up a deuce. With the hammer, Roth was able to well position a stone in the four-foot. Christensen tried twice to freeze her skip stones to it to put her team in a winning position, but came up short with both attempts.
“We still felt in control even if we gave them two in the 10th end – just as long as we didn’t give them three. I had my draw weight and felt confident if I needed to draw in the end,” Roth said.
The action continues at 7 tonight with three more games on tap. A link to the live webstream of the round robin can be found at www.NBCSports.com. Game scores will be posted online after each draw at www.usacurl.org. Standings and stats also will be available.
Draw 3 scores: Shuster 7, McCormick 5; Birr 9, Clark 6; Roth 7, Christensen 6 (extra end)
The round robin continues through Wednesday night. If needed, tiebreakers will take place on Thursday morning. The playoffs, a best two-out-of-three series, will begin on Friday and continue through Saturday night, if needed.
USA Curling is hosting the event with Baxter Arena and the Omaha Sports Commission, in partnership with the Aksarben Curling Club and the United States Olympic Committee. The men’s and women’s teams that win the Trials will be named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
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