Heater McCormick (photo by Rich Harmer) sails past Team Birr and into a rematch with Team Persinger in the final of the 2018 USA Curling Nationals
FARGO, North Dakota - Skip Heater McCormick walked onto the ice with his teammates completely dialed-in for tonight's semifinal game at the 2018 USA Curling Nationals.
And they played like a team completely focused on punching a ticket to Saturday's gold media final and a rematch with Team Persinger. Led by McCormick, they easily handled Team Birr 8-1.
"It was a nice start for us. And then we played a really solid second end to get the force there. Obviously got a fortunate break to get three in the third. It was a nice way to start the game for sure."
That start was a deuce McCormick grabbed in the first end followed by forcing Todd Birr to just one in the second end. The game was blown open in the third end after Birr's final stone sailed through the house attempting a hit and role. McCormick then drew to the four-foot giving them a 5-1 lead.
Things continued to spiral for Birr in the fourth end after Heater stole two more. Giving up another steal of one in the fifth resulted in handshakes.
"It was just a dud," Birr said. "We came out and I think we were in a good place coming out. We felt good but we just didn't execute very well. John (Benton) made a great shot in the first end to get out of trouble and then I couldn't follow around that corner guard. It wrecked and was downhill from there."
It was a strong way to bounce back for McCormick after dropping an 8-3 game to Persinger in the 1v2 page playoff game last night.
"Last night we didn't have the game that we wanted to, so we took a lot of time to prepare and made sure we got everything we needed right today," lead Tom Howell said. "We spent a lot of time this morning at practice and we were ready."
McCormick is ready for a third shot at Persinger after coming up short in two previous tries this week at Nationals.
"We're not gonna change anything," McCormick said. "We're just gonna rest up and try to be as focused and ready as we can for the final."