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USA wins opener at World Junior Curling Championships

SOCHI, Russia – Korey Dropkin helped Team USA rally and win its opener Thursday at the 2013 World Junior Championships.

Trailing by two points, the American men (1-0) scored a deuce in the 10th end to force an extra end against Marek Cernovsky’s Czech Republic rink and then stole the winning point to start the round robin with a win at the Ice Cube Curling Center.

“We came out pretty well. We had a few rough ends but kept in it, made some more shots and we came back and held on,” Dropkin, of Massachusetts, said.

Dropkin and teammates Thomas Howell of New Jersey and Mark Fenner and Alex Fenson, both of Bemidji, are competing in a nine-game round robin with the top four teams moving on to next weekend’s Page playoffs.

In the opening end, the U.S. had a few rocks roll out after takeouts, resulting in Dropkin being forced to draw into the four-foot against three Czech stones to score a single. In the second end the U.S. stole a point to go up 2-0. The Czechs got the opportunity for a deuce in the third end after Dropkin’s final takeout jammed, giving Cernovsky the draw for two.

After being forced again to draw for a single in the fourth end, the Americans were in full control of the fifth end and stole a pair.

A couple of missed shots by the U.S. in the sixth end produced a big end for the Czechs as Cernosky was able to chip out an American stone nearly frozen in the four-foot to a Czech rock for three points to tie the game.

After the seventh end Dropkin was eventually forced to draw for a single to take a 6-5 lead.

The Americans looked poised to steal points in the ninth end but things unraveled and Cernosky was able to chip out the lone U.S. stone in the rings and hung three points on the scoreboard.

The U.S. got the deuce set up early on in the 10th end and Dropkin drew for two to tie the game.

The Czechs missed a peel early in the extra end, allowing the U.S. to put a stone in the four-foot and protect it. Cernovsky attempted to draw down and tap out the U.S. rock but his final stone could not move it back enough, and the U.S. stole the winning point.