There were eight different scenarios for what would happen if the U.S. men’s curling team defeated Great Britain Tuesday night.
There were also eight scenarios for what would happen if they lost, none of which featured them making the semifinals.
Sitting on a record of 4-4, the U.S. was in a win-and-you’re-in situation, and they knew it. Luckily for John Shuster’s team, they didn’t have to worry about that, because they took care of business when it mattered most, defeating Great Britain 10-4 in eight ends.
John Shuster’s team jumped ahead early. Great Britain had one takeout on their final throw, but just missed a second by inches, setting up an easy two points for Team USA in the first.
The U.S. dominated on takeouts, collecting 40 to just 25 by Great Britain. They were successful on 90 percent of their takeout attempts.
Great Britain answered the U.S.’s early double by scoring one point in three straight ends. In the fourth, the U.S. had an easy point they could have taken by just landing the hammer on the button, but Shuster decided to take a risk and go for a takeout and possible two points instead. It didn’t work, as his shot not only missed the takeout but also rolled too far to the right, giving Great Britain a steal and their first lead, 3-2.
Shuster’s risks paid off better in the fifth. Sitting two in the house just outside a British stone, he went for another takeout and got it, scoring three in the end to put his team up 5-3 at the midpoint break.
The U.S. led 6-4 heading into the eighth when the wheels fell off for Britain. They tapped their own stone on their second to last throw, setting up Shuster to land his final shot easily inside. Britain’s skip Kyle Smith had a chance for takeouts on the hammer, but his throw was much too light, and not even close to touching any U.S. stones, giving Shuster’s squad four more points and forcing Smith to concede.
The win, coupled with a loss by Japan, guarantees the No. 3 seed in the semifinals to the U.S. after they finish round robin play 5-4. It will be the first time the U.S. has reached the semifinals since 2006 when they won the bronze medal. Shuster was a lead on that team, and has played in every Olympics since.
Great Britain, also 5-4, will now play 5-4 Switzerland in a tiebreak game Wednesday night at 6 p.m. for the fourth semifinal seed.
GBR 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 X X – 4
USA 2 0 0 0 3 0 1 4 X X – 10
Other games from the night:
South Korea 10, Japan 4
The U.S.’s biggest competition for a semifinal spot prior to Tuesday’s game was Japan, who also came into the final night with an identical 4-4 record.
While Korea wasn’t playing for a spot in the semis, they had played spoiler already, defeating Switzerland Monday night, and were prepared to do it again in front of their home crowd for the final time.
The Korean fans got what they paid for as Kim Chang-Min’s team defeated Japan 10-4, finishing their hometown Olympics on a three game winning streak.
The two teams were tied at 3-3 through three ends when Korea took over. They scored four in the fifth and three more in the eighth before Japan conceded defeat.
The loss eliminates Japan from semifinal contention. They finish round robin play 4-5. Korea also finishes 4-5 overall.
KOR 1 0 2 0 0 4 0 3 X X – 10
JPN 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 X X – 4
Canada 8, Denmark 3
All Canada needed to do Tuesday night was win to guarantee the No. 2 seed in the upcoming semifinals. And win they did, in decisive fashion, taking down Denmark 8-3 in seven ends.
Canada dominated on takeouts, with 89 percent accuracy and 33 takeouts as a team, compared to 59 percent and just 14 takeouts for Denmark.
Kevin Koe’s Canadian team came out scoring, putting one rock on all four corners of the 4-foot in the first end. Denmark tried to play the takeout and roll, but failed, giving Canada four stolen points in the first end.
Canada scored three more in the fifth after Denmark’s final shot was too light to get a takeout with Canada lying two. All Koe had to do was land on the button to extend his team’s lead to 8-2.
Denmark scored just one in the sixth before conceding the game.
Denmark finishes round robin play with a 2-7 record, worst among the 10 teams in PyeongChang. Canada finishes 6-3 and will take on the U.S. in the semifinals Thursday morning at 6 a.m. EST.
DEN 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 X X X – 3
CAN 4 0 1 0 3 0 0 X X X – 8
Norway 7, Sweden 2
Sweden may have had the top seed in the semifinals locked up, but they’ll be heading into the next round stumbling after falling to Norway Tuesday 7-2 in six ends.
Sweden led just one time in the game after scoring two points in the third to go up 2-1.
While Norway didn’t have a huge advantage statistically, leading 83 percent to 76 percent on takeout percentage and only collecting 18 takeouts to Sweden’s 22, they ultimately won the game off four points in three stolen ends.
Norway responded in the fourth by scoring three after Thomas Ulsrud’s hammer throw came just around enough to land on button. Ulsrud’s crew added to the three by stealing two more in the fifth and another in the sixth, forcing Sweden to concede the final four ends.
Sweden finishes round robin play 7-2, still best among all 10 teams. They’ll now shift their focus to the semifinals, set to begin Thursday morning at 6 a.m. EST.