SOCHI, Russia (AP) — David Murdoch crouched into his curling stance, took a breath and released the rock that either would usher Britain into the semifinals or add another layer of woe to his Olympic career.
It was a tough shot — one of the biggest of his life — but the British skip didn't feel nervous at all.
The result was sheer perfection.
Murdoch scored two points from a double takeout with his game-deciding final shot to earn Britain a 6-5 win over Norway in a tiebreaker Tuesday. It set up a date with Sweden in the semifinals, while Canada plays China.
"It is going to rank up there with the best shots I have ever played," Murdoch said. "To stay in the Olympics or be out of the Olympics in one shot."
With his team out of the Sochi Games, Norway skip Thomas Ulsrud hung his head and slumped to the ground near the hoardings at the end of the sheet of ice.
"I thought, 'This is not happening. Tell me it's a dream,'" Ulsrud said.
Murdoch invited the Norway players to his wedding in Scotland last year but their friendship was put on ice for a tense, nervy tiebreaker that the Norwegians always seemed to have in control.
Until the final shot, that is.
Ulsrud's last stone settled in a position that left Murdoch with a nice angle to remove two Norwegian rocks from the house and leave his shooter dead. With another British rock in a potential point-scoring position, two points — to overturn a 5-4 deficit — was on.
The British players called a timeout to discuss the shot with coach Soren Gran, but declining it was never an option.