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2018 Winter Olympics: U.S. Men's curlers beat Great Britain, reach semifinals

U.S. men’s curlers John Landsteiner, Tyler George, John Shuster and Matt Hamilton of the U.S. celebrate after defeating Great Britain on Wednesday at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Duluth News Tribune

The U.S. men’s curling team has reached the semifinals at the Winter Olympics.

The team from the Duluth Curling Club trounced Great Britain 10-4 on Wednesday, overcoming its 2-4 start in round-robin play to win three straight games and reach the Olympic playoffs for the first time since 2006.

The Americans are the No. 3 seed and will face Canada on Thursday.

“This is what you dream about as a teenager when you are out practicing and throwing rocks. If you want to play anybody at the Olympics with medals on the line — it’s Canada,” said U.S. curler Tyler George of Duluth, in a news release from USA Curling. “To actually get to a game like that – man! It’s amazing! But, we’ve played these guys plenty of times. This is not a situation that we’re going to be uncomfortable in. They are going to come at us with everything they’ve got — but man — it’s going to be fun!”

The U.S. beat Canada 9-7 in round-robin play earlier this week — the first time the U.S. beat Canada at the Olympics.

The Americans finished tied with Great Britain and Switzerland at 5-4 in round-robin play, but the U.S. advanced to the semifinals based on head-to-head record while the other two teams will play in a tiebreaker on Thursday to determine the final playoff spot. The winner will face top-ranked Sweden.

The winners of the two semifinals will play for a gold medal.

In addition to George, the U.S. team includes skip John Shuster, a Chisholm native now living in Superior, John Landsteiner of Duluth, Matt Hamilton of McFarland, Wis., and alternate Joe Polo of Duluth. They’re coached by Phill Drobnick of Eveleth.

“It’s pretty awesome to be in the medal rounds and know that for sure we are one win away from a medal and two wins away from gold,” Hamilton said in a news release.

“We mustn’t let any pressure get to us. Set some goals before each game. Be ourselves and bring the best version of ourselves out onto the ice — and give it everything,” Landsteiner said about the team’s plans going into the semifinal against Canada.

“This team has had their backs against the wall a lot the last few years. They came in as unit and stuck together as a unit, no matter what happened, and I am just proud of them,” Drobnick said.

Great Britain took a 3-2 lead after four ends on Wednesday, before the U.S. scored three points in the fifth end to take the lead for good.

The U.S. team kept control of the scoreboard today to fuel the win over Great Britain as they surged into the playoffs. The U.S. stole four points in the eighth end, and Great Britain conceded the game. When Korea beat Japan a short time later, the U.S. secured its semifinal spot.