- The United States men’s curling team finished off round-robin play with a three-game winning streak to shockingly secure a spot in the semifinals for the first time since 2006.
- The decisive win came Wednesday, with skip John Shuster making a few massive shots to put the team just one win away from a medal.
- Team Shuster will face off against Canada with a spot in the gold medal match on the line at 6:05 a.m. EST on Thursday morning.
Just three days ago the United States’ men’s curling team looked dead in the water.
Sitting at 2-4 in round robin play, the US had no room for error – a single loss would drop them from knockout round contention and assure the team that their Winter Olympics would end without a medal.
But with their backs against the wall, the team of Joe Polo, John Landsteiner, Matt Hamilton, Tyler George, and skip John Shuster rose to the occasion, stringing together three-straight wins against some of the toughest competition in the field to secure a spot in the semifinal.
The hot streak began against Canada – the reigning Olympic champions and favourites to take gold again in 2018. The US needed an extra end to take down the champions, but looked stronger than they had throughout the entirety of the tournament, and would ride that momentum to another win against Switzerland, setting up a do-or-die matchup against Great Britain on Wednesday.
The turning point of the match came in the fifth end.
After a strong start, the Americans had conceded two consecutive steals to the Brits, with Shuster missing with the hammer in the third and fourth ends and conceding the United States’ lead.
But Shuster made up for his miscues with a brilliant shot to close out the fifth – taking out Great Britain’s shot stone and laying the hammer comfortably into the house to secure three points for the team and put the Americans back ahead 5-3.
Team Shuster would not look back from there, holding their lead the rest of the match, and stealing four from Great Britain in the eighth end to secure victory. While Shuster’s work as skip will be remembered most, it was a brilliant team effort, with every player working to pick each other up after a tough shot, and some extremely impressive sweeps that turned otherwise misplaced stones into assets.
With the win, the US claimed their spot in the semifinal, where they will face off against Canada once again with a spot in the gold medal match on the line at 6:05 a.m. EST on Thursday morning.
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