Shot! Shuster's short raise take-out disperses two Swedish stones, but Edin then removes the only remaining American stone in the house with his next shot. One shot left each and the house is empty. Shuster rolls into a guard and Edin runs his final shot through to blank the end and keep the hammer. Three ends gone and only one point on the board.
The first hearty cheer goes up from the crowd as John Shuster's short run-back gets rid of a Swedish shot stone. That's a nice response by Edin though with a nose shot to get rid of two red rocks... Shuster's take-out then leaves United States lying two. Edin tries the double to take both out, but only gets one! A steal of one for Shuster to take the lead in the second end.
Incidentally, facial hair is a big theme of this men's final: there's Matt Hamilton's trademark moustache, of course, and beards of varying bushiness on Niklas Edin, John Shuster (stubble), Chris Plys (thick), Rasmus Wranaa (sculpted), Landsteiner (goatee) and the impeccable Oskar Eriksson. Even Christoff Lundgren has whispy bits along his jaw. There's more hair out there than on a barber's floor on a busy Saturday.
As you'd expect for such an all-star final, we have the best crowd of the week here at the Ralston Arena. They don't have the chance to get their hands warm or rattle their cowbells yet though, as Niklas Edin opts to keep the hammer for end two by rolling through the empty house.
As both teams finished level on 15 points in their respective groups, all four players on each team drew to the button yesterday to decide who would start with the hammer in this final. The worst throw on each side was discarded and an average calculated of the remaining three. Sweden were the winners (21.4cm, since you ask), thus it is United States lead John Landsteiner to throw first. Good luck, and good curling!
.. and the locals are starting to file through the Ralston Arena doors in preparation to cheer on their heroes, Olympic champions Team John Shuster. They are one of very few rinks to hold a superior head-to-head record against three-time (and current) world champions Team Niklas Edin, leading 9-8 overall. Since their Olympic final meeting in February in PyeongChang the two rivals have played one further match, which Shuster also won, 4-3.
In an unbearably tense last end, Korea have a big attempted take-out shot with their second-last stone....but Minji Kim has peeled it, leaving Japan lying two, a shot stone on each side of another otherwise deserted house. Japan's last stone is a draw to the front middle of the house. They're now lying three... here goes....Kim's final draw for the match. IT'S LOOKS HEAVY, IT'S TOO HEAVY....JAPAN HAVE CLINCHED IT!