The USA men’s curling team kept a cool head and won a 7-5 win over Denmark to advance to the men’s curling playoffs at the Beijing Olympics in 2022.
After winning gold in 2018, the American men reached the semifinals for the first time in consecutive Olympic curling tournaments, joining the company of traditional curling powerhouses such as Canada, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
Thanks to China’s upset victory over Switzerland and the Russian Olympic Committee’s loss, Team Shuster avoided a complicated tie-breaking scenario and controlled their fate early in the game.
USA captain John Shuster was unable to clear Denmark’s rocks on his last shot in the first end, but a miss from Denmark captain Mikkel Krause limited them to a 1-0 lead.
A draw from Chris Plys on his last rock had the US with four inside and the hammer, but Shuster accidentally took out a US rock on his first and missed his second to give a 2-0 lead in Denmark.
Krause doubled out on his first shot of the third end, but with an American rock still in the circle, the Americans added to tie it at two.
Shuster stole his first rock in the fourth end, leading him to leave the United States with only two in the house. A Shuster out on his next followed by a huge miss from Denmark gave the Americans a 5-2 lead and control of the game.
The US, held on to their lead in the fifth end, forcing Denmark to a point after a misfire by Henrik Holtermann.
After shutting out the sixth to keep the hammer, the Americans settled for just one in the seventh to bring the score to 6-3.
A double out by American Matt Hamilton on his last pitch in the eighth helped steal one when Krause missed the hammer to come up 7-3.
Denmark got two in the ninth, but the US, played defensively with a lead in the final end, sealing the result.
The Americans have come a long way since struggling at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, going 2-7 in both to finish at or near the bottom of the standings. Shuster was essentially kicked out of the team after 2014, but made his way back and led the United States to gold in 2018.
Team USA’s 5-4 round robin record may not be daunting, but the Americans entered the Olympic playoffs in 2018 with the same record en route to making history .
The American men will face Great Britain at 7:05 a.m. ET Thursday in the semifinals. The top-seeded Brits suffered their only round-robin loss to the American men, 7-9.