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John Shuster finds Omaha to his liking again as U.S. earns men's Curling World Cup title

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USA players Christopher Plys, left, John Landsteiner, center, and Matt Hamilton, compete against Scotland during the preliminary round of the Curling World Cup at the Ralston Arena.

When it comes to competitions in Omaha, all John Shuster does is win.

Shuster’s United States squad picked up a 3-1 win over Sweden, the No. 1 team in the world,  in Sunday’s men’s championship of the Curling World Cup at Ralston Arena.

The win qualifies his team for the World Cup Grand Final in Beijing in May, and it was the second crown he won in Omaha after claiming the U.S. Olympic Trials title  last November .

“I hope that we get as good of ice and can play as well (in Beijing) as we did here and maybe take home a grand final for the United States,” Shuster said.

Sunday’s final was a rematch of the gold medal contest in the Pyeongchang Olympics, which the U.S. won 10-7. Shuster’s lineup had one difference from the February meeting, as Christopher Plys joined Shuster, John Landsteiner and Matt Hamilton.

“We’ve done a lot of things between (the Olympics) and now,” Shuster said. “We’ve had a pretty good season. We actually hadn’t won a tournament together as a team with our new lineup, and it feels pretty good to finally get our first win, especially in an event as this World Cup.”

The U.S. had a 2-1 edge after six ends thanks to a point in the second, when Sweden missed on a double-takeout shot, and another in the sixth.

Sweden had the final shot for each of the first five ends but could only manage one point . Shuster’s team scored one in the sixth with the final stone.

“(Sweden) took a few opportunities and went after a little bit of offense,” Shuster said. “We got a little fortunate with a couple of misses in the ends that they kind of tried to play some soft offense and ended up getting one blank (end) out of those and forced another one there.”

Sweden had a chance to score a point and tie the match in the seventh end, but skip Niklas Edin elected to give the U.S. a point to keep control of the final shot headed into the eighth end.

“If you take one there, you’re toast,” Edin said. “You’ve got 5 percent to win the game. It’s a difficult call to give up one there, but still a bad situation obviously, but we had no choice.”

On Sweden’s seventh shot of the final end, Edin put his stone closest to the center circle, which gave Sweden a chance for two points to extend the match, but Shuster followed with his final shot of the end and knocked the Swedish rock out of the rings to guarantee a victory for the Americans.

In the women’s championship match, the team from Japan scored two points in the final end to complete a comeback and defeat Korea 7-6.

Korea had the final shot of the match and needed to put it closest to the house to earn the win. Minji Kim’s shot went too far through the rings and allowed Japan to get two points and the win.

Japan trailed 6-3 after the fifth end, but scored one in the sixth without the final shot, added another in the seventh to get within one then took two points without the hammer in the final end for the win.

The Norwegian duo of Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten gave up four points in the first end then won 10 of the final 11 points to get a 10-5 win in seven ends over Switzerland’s Jenny Perret and Martin Rios in the mixed doubles final.

Skaslien and Nedregotten took the lead for good with two points in the fifth end to go ahead 5-4 and brought the match to a close by scoring four in the seventh end, bringing a concession from Switzerland.

The loss was the only one in Omaha for Perret and Rios.

Men’s Final

United States.........01 00 01 1x—3

Sweden.................00 00 10 0x—1

Mixed Doubles

Norway................02 12 10 4x—10

Switzerland..........40 00 01 0x— 5

Women’s Final

Korea....................04 01 10 00—6

Japan....................20 10 01 12—7

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