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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter Olympics spoiler alert: Men's curling: US vs. Canada

AP Sports Writer

Results of U.S. men's curling vs. Canada.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — On this sheet of ice, it was all Canada.
“Some redemption for the hockey team,” Canadian curler Marc Kennedy said, a day after the United States stunned Canada 5-3 in the country’s No. 1 pastime.
On the curling ice, Kevin Martin’s Canadians faced an early deficit against the U.S. on Monday, then fought right back to keep their Olympic unbeaten streak alive.
The favored Canada foursome (8-0) eliminated the Americans from contention with a shortened 7-2 victory in nine ends. John Shuster’s U.S. team still had one more game, Monday night against China.
For a while, Canada was just plain bad by its high standards — as in less than 40 percent accuracy for Martin, its 43-year-old ace.
“We hung on,” he said. “The last five ends were strong, but the first two or three, whoa. We came out with a little bit of complacency, a little lack of focus after yesterday. Yesterday was a big win for us.”
Martin already had secured the No. 1 seed going into Thursday’s semifinals with a win Sunday over Switzerland, but his team wasn’t nearly as sharp in this one. The Canadians had a bye for Monday night’s session before finishing the round-robin schedule Tuesday against China.
It says a lot about Martin’s bunch that they can play poorly and still win so soundly.
“I don’t think it’s just him. All four guys are phenomenal players,” U.S. No. 4 shooter Jason Smith said. “They’ve played together for a while now, and they know each other. They play well.”
While Martin enjoyed a nice dinner with his wife Sunday — their first real date night since arriving in Vancouver earlier this month — his teammates were tuned in to the hockey team’s shocking loss.
“I’ve still got a lot of confidence in the hockey players,” John Morris said. “It will be a tough road, but we’ll be cheering for those guys.”
The American curlers haven’t given their fans much to cheer about during a disappointing Olympics. Shuster captured a bronze in Turin four years ago, the first American Olympic medal in the sport and first in a major men’s competition since 1978.
But the U.S. never found a groove in Vancouver. The team lost three straight matches in extra ends at one point.
“We really came out here and played some good games and lost a bunch of close ones,” Shuster said. “We’re a team that puts threes and fours on the board on a pretty regular basis and capitalizes on opportunities. We haven’t done that at all. We’ve played good and just haven’t quite gotten there.”