It took extra ends, but the United States men’s curling team started off their quest at defending their gold medal with a close 6-5 win over the ROC.
In the first match of round-robin play, U.S. skipper John Shuster nailed the button in extra ends to pull out the close victory.
The United States nearly grabbed the win in the usual 10 ends. The 10th end came down to a measurement while the U.S. held a 5-4 lead. With both the U.S. and the ROC having stones on the edge of the button, if the American rock was closer to the button, the U.S. would win. If the ROC’s was closer, it would grab the point to tie the match.
It was determined that the ROC’s stone was closer to the middle, getting the point to tie the game and force the extra end before the United States took advantage of a bad rock by ROC skipper Sergei Glukhov to secure the victory.
Shuster’s squad, which consists of Matt Hamilton, Chris Plys and John Landsteiner, opened up by grabbing a point in the first end. Both sides made mistakes in the third end, however it was the ROC that was able to nab a point to tie the match.
The Russians, which consists of Glukhov, Evgenii Klimov, Dmitrii Mironov and Anton Kalalb, were able to grab two points in the fourth end to pull ahead 3-1. However, the U.S. bounced back with a point each in the fifth and sixth end to the game at 3-3.
The tie didn’t last long as the ROC jumped back out in front by snagging a point in the seventh end.
Shuster, who had been outduel by Glukhov up to that point, had one of his best shot in the eighth end. With the final rock of the end, Shuster notched a split, grabbing two points to jump ahead 5-4 heading into the final two ends.
Up next for Shuster’s team is a game with Sweden, which will take place Thursday, Feb. 10 at 1:05 a.m. EST.