GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Japan’s Yusuke Morozumi rink shot 93 percent as they took down John Shuster and the American men, 8-2, today in round robin action at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Shuster (a Chishom native now living in Superior, Wis.) and teammates Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), and John Landsteiner (McFarland, Wis.) never got a good feel for the ice in the lopsided loss to a familiar opponent.
“Slow start. Maybe not ready to go in the morning. I don’t know why. We did the same routine, everything. Didn’t get the hammer, gave up the deuce. Just everything kind of went the wrong way starting out,” Landsteiner said.
The loss drops the American men to 2-3 overall as Japan improved to 3-2. While three losses is not ideal, there is a logjam in the middle of the standings with plenty of teams still in contention to make the playoffs.
The U.S. men have four games left to try to make a playoff appearance for the first time since winning bronze in 2006.
“I thought we threw the rocks great. We had a couple of ends where we were set up real good. Just had some misses at the wrong time,” George said. “Sometimes the scoreboard doesn’t really indicate how close the game was. Japan played great. If you make mistakes against a team that’s playing really well at the wrong time, you are going to pay for it. It wasn’t just John, we all made a few mistakes when we couldn’t afford to.” In the opening end, Japan had an open draw for two when Shuster’s stone rolled out after an attempted double takeout. Japan played a solid second end and had lots of granite around the four-foot for most of the end. The only shot Shuster had left was a difficult angle raise that was not successful as Japan stole a point to go up 3-0. Japan continued to pressure the U.S. and Shuster was facing a difficult double takeout in the hopes of resurrecting a point in the third end, only to have his stone roll out for another single steal for Japan. Japan finally gave an inch in the fifth end when they missed a double takeout and the U.S. got on the scoreboard with a draw for two points. The U.S. team needed a few more inches with Shuster’s final draw of the sixth end to get a steal in play. Instead, Morozumi had a takeout to score two and expand the lead back to four. Things didn’t get any better for the U.S. in the seventh end – and after being unsuccessful with a runback double takeout attempt, the U.S. conceded after giving up a steal of two.
After the game, Morozumi said although the Americans played well his team played better. Morozumi identified general difficulties teams have had at reading the ice at this event. In this game, Morozumi said his team was faster at reading the ice conditions and that was a key advantage to them securing their win.
Next up for Shuster and the American men will be Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud rink. Sweden, which was idle this morning, continues to lead the men’s division. Switzerland’s Peter de Cruz rink secured a key 8-6 win over Canada’s Kevin Koe rink to move into a tie with the Canadians for second place at 4-2. Norway earned its second win of the Olympics with a x-x victory over Denmark. Nina Roth and the U.S. ladies (2-3) have they day off but return to the ice tomorrow with games against Denmark (1-4) and China (3-2).
For a complete photo gallery from each game, go to https://www.facebook.com/teamusacurl.