By Jim Force | Special to Wausau Pilot & Review

The USA Wheelchair curling team fell just short of making the playoffs at the Paralympic Curling championships in Beijing today.

In a critical round-robin game against favored Sweden, they led after six ends but lost 10-7. In the second game, they rallied to defeat Korea 7-6 and finished the round robin at 5-5, just a game shy of making the playoffs.

With final round robin games still in play this morning, the likely finalists are China, Sweden, Canada and Slovakia.

The US had the edge on Sweden at 7-5 going into the seventh, or next to last end. But the Swedes laid five in the scoring area (house) to take a 10-7 lead. The final end was not fully played out.

After that disappointment, Team USA rallied in their final game to turn back Korea, scoring two in the last end. The victory was sealed when Steve Emt threw a perfect takeout, clearing Korean rocks from the house and leaving the US with two. Weston’s Matt Thums protected the US stones with a well-placed guard and the game was over.

Semi-finals and the bronze medal games are Thursday, and the gold medal match is Saturday.