Team USA Deaf Curling is currently competing for a medal in the World Deaf Curling Championships (WDCC). The WDCC is being hosted in Sochi, Russia, on March 5 – 12, 2017. USA Deaf Curling sent three men:
Michael Beer (Lead, throws first)
John Knetzger (Vice, throws second)
Keith Mischo (Skip, throws third.)
John Knetzger and Keith Mischo are also representing USA at Technical Director meetings.
Team USA competed against Japan in their first game on March 5th, where they lost 10-0. On March 6th, Team USA took on Canada which resulted in a 7-5 loss. Team USA has been charging hard to come back and as of March 9th, was fourth overall in the overall 10-team pool standings with an overall record of 4 wins and 3 losses, behind Canada, Russia and Japan. Canada and Russia stood undefeated at 7-0 each.
The morning draw was just completed on March 10th and Team USA fell to fifth place in the overall standings with a record of 4-4, tied with Switzerland. USA will play Korea in the evening. To qualify for the 4-team playoff, USA must defeat Korea and get help from Hungary in stopping Switzerland. Canada and Russia stand undefeated each at 8-0. Japan has 5-3. Canada and Russia stand undefeated each at 8-0. Japan has 5-3.
With two more days of competition yet to come, keep rooting for Team USA to get into medal contention!
Final Update (Good/Bad/Good News!):
In the final draw during pool play, USA dominated Korea 14-6, and Switzerland lost by just one point to Hungary, 8-9. With a record of 5-4, USA qualified for the 4-team playoff as the fourth seeded team. In a 1v2 & 3v4 format, Canada (9-0) was seeded first, followed by Russia (8-1), and Japan (5-4).
On March 11th, Canada advanced to the gold medal draw with a 7-3 win over Russia. During the first end of the Japan-USA draw, after both Beer and Knetzger completed their throws, skip Mischo was flagged for violating a technical rule on use of hearing aids. USA disqualified and was placed in the bronze medal draw against the loser of the Russia-Japan semifinal draw. The opportunity to play for either gold or silver vanished. To provide a level playing field, all deaf athletes are not allowed to wear hearing aids during warm-up and competition in deaf world championships, Deaflympics and other ICSD-sanctioned competitions.
In the morning draw on March 12, Russia defeated Japan 13-3 and played Canada again in the afternoon. Canada captured the gold by the same score of 7-3. Meanwhile, in the other afternoon draw between Japan and USA, both teams were still even at 4 points each after 5 ends. USA prevailed by scoring in the last end with its last rock to break the 6-6 tie and win the bronze, 7-6.
Knetzger was selected by the referee committee to the deaf men’s all-star curling team. The other three all-stars were John Gessner (Skip – Canada), Junichi Araya (Skip – Japan), and Yury Makeev (Skip – Russia).