Winter Olympics 2018: USA curling beats Canada to advance to first gold medal game

Team Shuster continued its absolutely ridiculous curling run on Thursday, defeating Canada for the second straight time in a thriller to advance to the gold medal game. Like the last time the U.S. played Canada, it came down to skip John Shuster's last rock. And like the last time the U.S. played Canada, Shuster nailed it, sending the USA curling team to a game that will guarantee it the highest finish in U.S. curling history.

It wasn't until the eighth end that the U.S. was able to break Canada's conservative approach, scoring two to go up 4-2 heading into the ninth end. Canada controlled the hammer for most of the game, but the U.S. was able to pick it up when it counted. By losing the ninth end and having its lead cut from 4-2 to 4-3, the U.S. was able to bring the game down to a sit and stay in the 10th end. Shuster nailed it, and the U.S. won the 5-3 chess match.

It's as devastating a loss for Canada as it is a monumental win for the U.S. Canada had won the last three gold medals, but skip Kevin Koe struggled down the stretch often in these Games. Although he played the semifinal round well, it just wasn't enough.

It's been a Cinderella story for the USA team. Sitting at 2-4 and looking like it would need a miracle to make it to the medal rounds, Shuster's team knocked off Canada, Switzerland, Great Britain and then Canada again to get a chance to play for gold. All three are medal caliber teams, with Switzerland having beaten Great Britain in a tiebreaker to play Sweden in the semifinals. Team USA will get the winner of that game.

And how's Team Shuster doing? Freaking amped, that's how.

This is proof that it's not about how you start, it's how you finish. Right now Team Shuster is finishing on an absolute tear. More than that, the team feels unbeatable. Shuster has been red-hot, hitting every rock after struggling early on.

Now, it's on to the gold medal game, where Team USA will face off against Sweden. Sweden is 8-2 so far throughout this tournament, looking nearly unbeatable to this point. However, if any team can unseat Sweden, it's the red-hot Team Shuster. Canada, meanwhile, will face off against Switzerland for bronze.

If the USA is able to complete this, it will be one of the best runs of any U.S. team in Winter Olympic history. Although it can't compete with the scope of hockey, in terms of difficulty beating Canada twice; Switzerland; Great Britain and then Sweden may well be on par with the Miracle on Ice in Lake Placid. What Team Shuster is doing here is historic, and it will finish higher than any USA curling team in history. But it isn't about that anymore. Now it's about winning gold.

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