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U.S. Olympic Team Curling Trials Day 6: Shuster, Peterson clinch finals berths

U.S. Olympic Team Curling Trials Day 6: Shuster, Peterson clinch finals berths
Posted at 8:28 AM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 13:01:59-05

The U.S. Olympic Team Curling Trials continued Wednesday in Omaha, Nebraska, with a pair of men's draws on the day, along with one women's draw.

There were three featured matchups for Day 5. Team Bear took on Team Christensen on the women's side and, on the men's side, Team Dunnam faced off against Team Ruohonen while Team Dropkin took on Team Shuster.

Below is a roundup of Wednesday's featured matchups along with on-demand replays.

SEE MORE: How to watch the U.S. Olympic Team Curling Trials

Team Dunnam vs. Team Ruohonen

Team Dunnam and Team Ruohonen both entered the first featured tilt of the day with identical 3-4 records. Both teams desperately needed a win in order to keep their hopes of making the knockout round alive, and the urgency was palpable throughout the contest.

Team Ruohonen started the game off hot, earning an early 5-0 lead after three ends. However, Rich Ruohonen and company blew their five-point lead as Team Dunnam came storming back, eventually tying the game at six points apiece going into the 10th end.

Luckily for Ruohonen's squad, they had the hammer in the final end, and they made it count, earning one point to break the tie and seal the 7-6 victory.

Meanwhile, Team Dropkin beat Team Brundidge 7-2 to improve their record to 5-3. Team Brundidge is the only remaining team at the Trials that has yet to win a single game.

Elsewhere in the early draw, Team Shuster took down Team Persinger by a score of 8-4 to remain undefeated and clinch the No. 1 seed in the finals on the men's side. John Shuster's group has been a juggernaut in Omaha, and they are the clear favorites to represent the U.S. in February's Olympics.

SEE MORE: U.S. Olympic Curling Trials: Men's Draw 8

Team Bear vs. Team Christensen

The fight for second place in the women's standings is a close one, but Team Christensen led the pack with a 4-3 record going into Draw 8. Team Bear, however, was only one game behind Cory Christensen's group in the standings, and they had their eyes on evening the playing field in the Trials' homestretch.

It was Team Christensen that came out on top 8-4 in the featured matchup. The teams were knotted at two points apiece heading into the sixth end, when Team Christensen put up a massive four points. Team Bear showed life with two points in the seventh end, but Christen picked picked up additional points in the eighth and ninth ends to seal the deal. 

Tabitha Peterson's team clinched the top seed for the finals on the women's side, defeating Team Sinclair 9-3 in six ends. Team Sinclair scored two points in the first end, but Team Peterson then scored nine unanswered points in four ends. Peterson's squad, which earned bronze at the 2021 World Championships, went 7-1 in the first eight games. 

Rounding out Wednesday's women's draw, Delaney Strouse's team defeated Kim Rhyme's 10-6, and the two now have identical 3-5 records, along with Team Sinclair and Team Bear.

SEE MORE: U.S. Olympic Curling Trials: Women's Draw 8

Team Dropkin vs. Team Shuster

After winning its first eight games of the 10-game double round-robin in Omaha, John Shuster's team suffered its first lost. Team Dropkin took a 6-1 win after scoring two points in both the sixth and eighth ends. 

Korey Dropkin's squad is now second in the standings and has clinched at least a tie-breaker, with the potential to qualify straight to the final with a win on Thursday. 

On Tuesday, Team Shuster member Chris Plys said that going undefeated was “definitely a goal." The team clinched the No. 1 seed for the finals earlier in the day. 

"But we kind of figured, at some point along the way, we could maybe take one or two [round-robin losses],” Plys added.

Scott Dunnam's team evened its record at 4-5 with Greg Persinger's team after an 11-4 victory. Dunnam led 5-4 after six ends, then added a big six points in the seventh end. 

Team Brundidge is still the only squad without a win at Olympic Trials after falling 6-5 to Team Ruohonen. Rich Ruohonen's team is now 5-4 and Jed Brundidge's is 0-9.

SEE MORE: U.S. Olympic Curling Trials: Men's Draw 9

Men's Standings
Team W L
Shuster 8 1
Dropkin 6 3
Ruohonen 5 4
Dunnam 4 5
Persinger 4 5
Brundidge 0 9
Women's Standings
Team W L
Peterson 7 1
Christensen 5 3
Bear 3 5
Rhyme 3 5
Sinclair 3 5
Strouse 3 5