Team Shuster vs. Team Dropkin
The opening match of the best-of-three men's finals series in Omaha produced a stunning upset that has 2018 Olympic gold medalist John Shuster and his team on the precipice of missing out on the 2022 Games.
Shuster's team fell 8-4 to the team skipped by Korey Dropkin (A.K.A. the "Young Bucks") in seven ends. Shuster, the higher seed after posting a 9-1 record in round-robin play, came into the match with the hammer, but let the advantage slip away immediately in the opening end as Dropkin captured a two-point steal. Dropkin never trailed in the match.
The teams will meet again Saturday for the second match of the finals series and, if necessary, Sunday as well. This is familiar territory for Shuster, who dropped the opening match of the finals series ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, only to come back and win the series to qualify.
Team Peterson vs. Team Christensen
In the nightcap, Tabitha Peterson's top-seeded team narrowly edged out the team skipped by Cory Christensen, 8-7, in 10 ends.
Team Peterson came back from a one-point deficit after the fifth end, scoring three points in the sixth to pull ahead for good.
Both Peterson and Christensen are looking for a return to the Winter Olympics, as both featured as members of Nina Roth's USA women's squad (though Christensen served in an alternate role). Team Peterson can lock up a spot in the 2022 Games Saturday with another victory.