SOCHI, Russia – Team USA put on an impressive show Wednesday but it won’t get them to the playoffs at the 2013 World Junior Championships.
Korey Dropkin and the American men had a convincing 8-1 win over China but 30 minutes later were handed their fate – no chance for a tiebreaker game to get into the playoffs.
With the win the Dropkin rink, which includes Bemidji curlers Mark Fenner and Alex Fenson, improved to 4-4 with Thursday’s game against Scotland still to play. (That game starts at 3 a.m. Central Standard Time).
The win momentarily kept the team in contention for a spot in the playoffs but when Sweden stole a point to defeat Switzerland 5-4 later Wednesday, the U.S. was officially knocked out of playoff contention.
Five teams remain in the playoff hunt – Scotland (7-1), Canada (6-2), Russia (6-2), Sweden (6-3) and Norway (5-3).
The U.S. opened strong against China’s Jin Bo Wang rink at the Ice Cube Curling Center.
The American men scored two points to start the game and then added to their lead with a steal when Wang was heavy with his final stone.
China was forced to make a takeout for the single in the fourth to avoid the steal again. The U.S. fell a rock behind in the fifth end but Dropkin saved the end with a promotion takeout for one with the last stone to extend the lead to 4-1.
When Wang missed both of his shots in the sixth end, the Americans stole three points and put team alternate Connor Hoge into the game to get his first experience playing in a world championship.
Wang’s final takeout in the end over-curled and bumped a U.S. stone into third count. That end put the U.S. fully in control of the game and another steal in the seventh end sealed the victory.
As a team, the U.S. men shot 81 percent, the third time this week that they surpassed 80 percent as a unit.
World Junior Championships
Event Schedule (times are CST)
Scotland 7-1, Canada 6-2, Russia 6-2, Sweden 6-3, Norway 5-3, USA 4-4, Italy 4-4, Switzerland 2-6, China 1-7, Czech Republic 0-9
Scotland 6, Sweden 5; Italy 6, China 4; Russia 10, Czech Republic 3
USA 8, China 1; Sweden 5, Switzerland 4; Canada 9, Norway 6; Scotland 5, Czech Republic 4
Thursday, March 7
3 a.m.: USA vs. Scotland; Switzerland vs. Italy; Norway vs. Russia; China vs. Canada
11:30 a.m.: Tiebreakers
11 p.m.: Tiebreakers, if necessary
Friday, March 8
4 a.m.: Tiebreakers, if necessary
9 a.m.: Page playoff openers
Saturday, March 9
9 a.m.: Page semifinals
11 p.m.: Page final; third place games