The men are two-thirds of the way through their round-robin, and three teams have separated — China, Britain and Sweden are 5-1. Canada is holding the last playoff spot at 4-2, with Norway at 3-3. The USA has a mathematical shot at 2-4 and missed being even by about an inch.
The women are all looking up at 5-0 Canada, then Sweden (4-1), China (3-2) and Britain (3-2). The USA, which brought its most experienced team ever, is completely out of it at 1-5.
Event: Day 5 of group play, with two men’s sessions and one women’s
How U.S. fared: The figure skaters had trouble hitting quads today, but John Shuster and the U.S. men hit two, scoring four in the third and four in the seventh. Up 8-4 after eight ends with the hammer, Shuster and company let it get a little too interesting by conceding a steal in the ninth and missing some takeouts in the 10th. But Shuster cleared the house pretty well with his first shot in the 10th, and Germany conceded the 8-5 decision.
Things can’t get any worse for the U.S. women. Facing winless Denmark, the USA gave up doubles and scored singles. Down 6-2 after six ends, Erika Brown came up well short on a draw to give up a steal of two in the seventh. Needing a miracle, Brown gave up another steal in the eighth and conceded, down 9-2. That’s the USA’s fifth loss, and they’re all but mathematically out of it.
Shuster was back in action in the evening and rebounded from giving up a steal but scoring three in the third with a nifty hit-and-roll and a solid takeout to tie it at 3. It all set up nicely from there: The teams traded doubles, the USA stole a point in the seventh, the eighth end was a blank, and Russia was held to a single in the ninth to make it 6-6. But a couple of wayward shots left Shuster needing to make a tough shot to squeeze a U.S. rock alongside two Russian rocks. Shuster’s rock rolled just slightly away from center. Both teams looked over the center of the house for a few seconds before Shuster tapped the Russian rock to concede that it was a hair closer. Russia 7-6
Morning session (men): Canada put up four in the seventh and three in the ninth to wipe out Norway 10-4. Sweden and China were much closer than that, going to an extra end before Niklas Edin made the clutch draw for Sweden in a 6-5 win.
Afternoon session (women): Russia was in the closest game of the session, giving its enthusiastic fans a chance to pay full attention. The home team took a 6-3 lead into the 10th, and the fans roared as Anna Sidorova took out both Swiss stones to force a concession.
The other games were much less dramatic. China scored three points in three different ends — second, fifth and seventh — then stole two in the eighth to make South Korea concede an 11-3 decision. Britain took a 7-3 lead in the seventh, then stole five to beat Japan 12-3.
Evening session (men): Denmark surrendered a 5-1 lead at the halfway point against Britain, giving up three in the sixth and then a steal in the ninth. They still only trailed 7-6 with the hammer in the 10th. It came down to one shot in which Denmark could potentially score five or give up one. They gave up one, and Britain won 8-6.
The other two games were also close. China scored one with the hammer in the 10th against Norway to win 7-5, and Germany held Switzerland a single in the 10th to win 8-7.