The U.S. came into Friday night’s game at the bottom of the standings and needing a win. After facing top ranked Canada and defending World Champions Switzerland in Games 2 and 3, the road didn’t get easier for the Hamilton siblings as they were tasked with taking on a China team that was third at the 2017 World Championships, and second in 2016.
The U.S. jumped out early, stealing two points in the first end, but couldn’t carry that offense forward, falling 6-4 to China’s Rui Wang and Ba Dexin.
The first end was the first time the Hamiltons had scored more than one point in an end since the first game of the competition against Team OAR.
“The Chinese team came out great. They capitalized on our misses and were able to steal. Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end of the stick there," Becca Hamilton said to reporters following the game.
The offense stalled from there though, as they were only able to muster one point over the next four ends, and another single point in the seventh. After leading 3-1 heading into the fourth, China scored a single point in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth ends, forcing a power play by the U.S. in the seventh.
The two teams headed to the final end tied 4-4, but China was able to steal two points for the ultimate win.
China stole points in three ends in the game.
“For the most part, we played a pretty good game," Matt Hamilton said. "It was just kind of a bonehead play not taking the power play in six. We got a little aggressive, we felt like were playing good, we were confident we could score a point there and I got a little heavy on my last rock and took the chances out of Becca’s hands."
The U.S. has played better than their record shows. Becca Hamilton came into the game shooting 75 percent, tops among all women in the competition. Brother Matt Hamilton came in shooting 73 percent.
However, the loss eliminates the U.S. from reaching the semifinals. They fall to 1-4 with two games remaining. 3 teams are now at 4-1, and the United States cannot finish better than 3-4. There are scenarios that would put USA into a 3- or 4-way tie for fourth place with a 3-4 record, but because they have lost to the other tied teams they will be unable to advance.
“You look at the stats, we’re right up there with the other teams – even better sometimes. It’s just the one shot that gets us and bites us in the end,” Becca Hamilton said. “We had a couple of unfortunate steals there when we had to score. We’re going to have to come back sharp. Hopefully, we are going to have some tie-breakers in our favor later.”
In the case of a 4-way tie, it was unclear Friday on whether or not USA would have to play a tiebreaker match, but even if they won that match they would not reach the playoffs. The U.S. will play Norway (4-1) Saturday morning at 6:05 a.m. EST, and conclude play on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. EST against Finland (0-5).
China improves to 2-3 overall.
NBC Research contributed to this story