Written by Matt Gephart
SOCHI, Russia – Coming into day two of Round Robin sessions, the US Wheelchair Curling Team finds themselves down 0-2 in the standings facing Norway, who is also a wild card this year at the Paralympics in Sochi. Norway has also started out the competition with a rocky start after the first and second sessions, finding themselves 0-2 in the standings as well.
Today’s session started off with the US Team gaining the hammer in the first end yet again, and used that to their advantage in the first end, placing two stones closest to the button, giving them a favorable lead from the get go.
The US seemed to use the hammer finally to their expertise this session and was able to score each end they had the hammer up until the seventh.
The US Team scored two points in the third end after only giving up one stone to the Norwegians in the second. Bringing the score to 4-1, the US Team looked to have a solid lead over the Norwegians and a clear advantage heading into the fourth end. But the fourth end did not go the way they wanted it to, unable to score any stones and giving up two points to Norway who had cut the lead from three points to one, making the score 4-3 after closing out the fourth end.
Then the magic started to happen for the US. Once again with the hammer, the US Team was still confident in their abilities and able to use the hammer to their advantage, scoring three points in the fifth end and increasing the lead by four.
This end was not handed to them easily though, they had to work for it. Coming all the way down to the last throw, US Skip Patrick McDonald was in need of a miracle. Guarded by two Norwegian stones, McDonald had to curl a stone around both guards to get to the Norway stone sitting right at the button. After a miraculous throw, McDonald missed the guards by centimeters and was able to knock out the Norwegian stone scoring three stones instead of none.
Norway did not go down without a fight though. Trying to make a comeback, Norway was able to place one stone in the sixth end while giving back the hammer to the US Team in the seventh end.
The US Team finally gave up their first point with hammer in hand for the session, where Norway was able to score one stone narrowing the US Team’s score to 7-5.
Going into the final end, all eyes were on Norway, who was able to score the previous two ends and cut down on the lead of the US Team. Despite not having the hammer for this round, the US Team was still able to score one point leaving the final to the US Team, 8-5, and defeating Norway for their first win of the competition.