NEWS
02/22/2018 08:58 EST | Updated 02/22/2018 10:32 EST

Canada's Kevin Koe Loses To U.S. Skip John Shuster In Olympic Curling Semifinal

Canada won't play for a curling gold medal for the first time since 1998.

Canada's skip Kevin Koe lost the U.S. in the men's curling semifinal game.
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Canada's skip Kevin Koe lost the U.S. in the men's curling semifinal game.

Canada's Kevin Koe will have to settle for a chance at winning a bronze medal in men's curling at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The Calgary skip fell 5-3 to John Shuster of the United States in Thursday's semifinal.

Shuster broke the game open with a steal of two in the eighth end.

"We were in control the whole game until then," Koe said.

"We weren't really in trouble that end at all. That's kind of what's frustrating. I think we got fooled a little. The ice started coming down a little. (The shot) was probably a little light as well. You know, what can you say?"

The Americans will now take on Niklas Edin in Saturday's final after Sweden downed Switzerland's Peter de Cruz 9-3 in eight ends in the other semi. The bronze-medal game between Canada and the Swiss goes Friday.

Switzerland beat Canada 8-6 in the round-robin portion of the tournament.

AFP/Getty Images
Canada's Kevin Koe was edged out by U.S.A.'s John Shuster in the curling semifinal.

Canadian men had won three straight Olympic curling gold medals — Brad Jacobs (2014), Kevin Martin (2010) and Brad Gushue (2006) — while never missing a final at the Games since the sport was reintroduced in 1998.

"It's hugely disappointing," Koe said. "What more can you say? You don't have to say much else."

Added Canadian third Marc Kennedy: "I'm not disappointed in our effort. I'm not disappointed in the guys. I thought we played our asses off all week to get in (the semifinal). We ran into a hot skip. It's just the way it goes. We're going to come in and try our asses for the bronze medal. This isn't the end of the world. It's a sport that we love, and sometimes you're on the losing end."

Rachel Homan's Ottawa rink became the first Canadian women's team to miss out on an Olympic podium after getting eliminated from playoff contention Wednesday.

Ottawa's John Morris and Winnipeg's Kaitlyn Lawes won gold in mixed doubles, which made its debut in South Korea, last week.

AFP/Getty Images
A couple of close misses put Kevin Koe's rink behind Team USA. Koe lost 5-3.

Tied 2-2 through five ends, the teams blanked the sixth and seventh ends, with Canada holding the hammer in the eighth.

The Americans then stole two when Koe hit the guard with his first rock before his draw fell way short, allowing the Americans to take a 4-2 lead.

"If my first rock doesn't rub and we get by, we're probably getting two," Koe said. "The weight was good.

"We rubbed, he made a good shot, and you know, just missed my last one."

Holding the hammer in the ninth, Canada was looking to score two with a tap back, but had to settle for one after Koe's last rock rolled out to trail 4-3.

The Americans held the hammer in the 10th, and secured their gold-medal berth when Shuster hit for the win.

Photo galleryCanada's Medal Winners At The PyeongChang Olympics See Gallery

"You play a game that comes down to millimetres. Sometimes it's one draw. A lot of rocks we threw good and didn't get the results we wanted," Kennedy said. "It's a really (expletive) hard game at this level, right? You're playing guys that are playing really well. You're not going to win every game. That's just the way it is.

"We've had a great week, we've had a great couple months. It's the best we've ever played as a team this year. We're going to take a lot of positives out of this."

After the teams blanked the first end, Koe had a chance to score two with a draw to the button with the hammer, but was heavy on his final stone to only put one on the board before Shuster tied it up in the third with a raise.

Koe then scored one on a takeout in the fourth to jump back in front on a tricky takeout with the Americans lying two.

Shuster responded in the fifth with a raise double takeout to tie the score heading to the break.

You play a game that comes down to millimetres. Sometimes it's one draw. A lot of rocks we threw good and didn't get the results we wanted.

Koe, third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing and lead Ben Hebert wrapped up the preliminary round at 6-3, just behind Sweden (7-2) to secure one of four sports in the semifinals.

The Canadians won four straight to open the tournament before dropping three in a row, including a 9-7 loss to the U.S. (5-4).

But they rebounded to wrap up the round robin with back-to-back victories, including a Wednesday's 8-3 victory over Denmark's Rasmus Stjerne — the team they beat for the 2016 world title.

"We don't want to go home empty-handed," Koe said. "As much as this sucks right now, if we can come out and play well and win (Friday) and go home with a medal, that'll help take some of the sting off it."

While this is Koe's first Olympics, Kennedy and Hebert were part of Martin's gold-medal winning rink from 2010.

Unlike the Canadian and world curling championships where the Page playoff format gives the top two seeds the opportunity at a second life after the round robin _ put plainly, two routes to the title game _ Olympic gold requires winning a semifinal

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