by Gary Ahuja/Special to Black Press Media
Round robin play has wrapped and the Championship Bracket is set for the 2019 World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.
Defending champion Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland and the Netherlands all won their respective pools following the first five days of action at the Langley Events Centre, which wrapped up on Monday night (Sept. 23).
The four winners will be joined by Iroquois Nationals, the United States, Israel and England in the eight-team Championship Bracket beginning Tuesday.
The remaining dozen teams will battle in the Placement Bracket to determine the final standings for numbers nine through 20.
— 2019 World Lacrosse Mens Indoor World Championship (@WILC2019) September 24, 2019
It was the most anticipated game of the round-robin and it certainly did not disappoint as the Championship’s top two seeds went toe-to-toe.
The Iroquois Nationals used a potent power-play scoring four times (five if you count an extra-attacker goal in the waning seconds of the first half) to lead 7-6 at the break. But with the score tied at eight, Canada pulled away with 11 of the next 15 goals to win 19-12.
Canada finished pool play at 4-0 while the Iroquois Nationals take second at 3-1.
.@Cjamieson88 hits @Staats83 for the goal with just 3.3 seconds left in the first half @IrqLax take 7-6 lead into the break at @worldlaxsport @WILC2019 WATCH LIVE on the LSN app or https://t.co/oJkK8CQ2nw pic.twitter.com/eGf4tF5VRx
— Lax Sports Network (@LaxSportsNet) September 24, 2019
“In this tournament, there are guys that could put up a lot of points if they wanted to if they wanted to get off script and do their own thing, but they have very committed to playing the system and doing things that are going to translate to moments like this, games against tougher competition,” said Canada coach Glenn Clark.
“The discipline, the commitment to systems and the honest game that they have played, it has been a real good buy-in.”
Mark Matthews had a monster game with a pair of goals and 11 points with Curtis Dickson (four goals, three assists), Ben McIntosh (three goals, two assists) and Robert Church (five assists) contributing to a potent Canadian attack.
Iroquois Nationals countered with four goals and eight points from Randy Staats, three goals and seven points courtesy of Cody Jamieson and two goals and six points via Tehoka Nanticoke.
The United States wrapped up third place with a 22-5 win over England with the Americans finishing 2-2 and the English 0-4.
The US defence was rock solid in the second half, allowing no goal and just seven shots over the final 30 minutes (and only 17 for the game).
Hunyahdengowah Abrams stopped 17 shots for the victory while Gale Thorpe had five goals and seven points. Kieran McArdle was one of three players to finish with eight points, alongside Joseph Resetarits.
Dan Eckersall, Dom Fitzgerald and Sam Clare had the English goals.
The dark horse of the four pool winners was the No. 17 seed Netherlands, who were coming off a last-place finish at the European Championships just two years ago and were making their first-ever appearance at the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship.
Facing Hong Kong in Monday’s final game – and needing a victory to win their pool – the Netherlands were down two goals with nine minutes to play. But what transpired was nine goals over the final 8:57 as they rattled off a game-closing 9-2 run for the 17-11 victory.
Ross Parsons (six goals, two assists), Joshua Toguri (two goals, five assists) and Graham Bergsma (three goals, four assists) combined for 22 points.
Evan Robert Ming-Yan Mok-Lamme had two goals and seven points for Hong Kong with Bryan David Houghton and Jordan West-Pratt each notching a hat trick.
Ireland also finished the round-robin at 3-1 thanks to an 18-7 win over Switzerland (0-4).
The Irish, Netherlands and Serbia all had identical 3-1 records but the Netherlands advanced thanks to winning the tiebreaker based on goal differential.
Luke Coppinger’s three goals and nine points led Ireland with Brian Gillis scoring four goals and eight points.
Switzerland’s Lukas Heri had three goals and five points.
“The dream was to always win the pool, come in the top eight. We had told the guys earlier, and some of them didn’t believe it, but even in training camp, Coach (Wayne) Colley and myself, we thought we had a shot at being top eight,” said Netherlands coach Neil Powless.
“The guys developed in each game to the point that we deserve to be here, just like anyone else. We have really come a long, long way.”
With second place in the pool – and an extra day off on the line – Germany defeated Slovakia 18-6. With
the victory, the Germans completed the round-robin at 3-1 while Slovakia finished up 2-2. Gustav Weber had five goals and seven points with Marc Brandenburger adding four goals and four assists in the win. Goaltender Craig Wende made 34 saves on 40 shots.
Noah Hoselton led the Slovaks with three goals and Soto Cernak finished with four assists.
And the Czech Republic – who already had first place locked up – improved to 4-0 with an 11-6 win over Scotland, who finished fourth in the pool at 1-3.
“We came here to win the group so …which is pretty good for us. That was exactly our goal,” explained Czech Republic general manager Pavel Semerak. “It is what we worked for the last couple of months, and so far, so good. This is our goal; we came here to be in the top eight and now we will be in the top eight and now maybe we will advance back to the Blue Division.”
Jakub Mares made 26 saves for the Czech Republic and Pavel Dosly and Jan Skokan each scored a pair of goals. Jiri Loskot and Tomas Prochazka finished with a goal and three assists apiece.
Thomas Moffatt (two goals, two assists) and Iain Vickers (two goals, one assist) led Scotland.
Sweden had five players with seven or more points, led by Leif Paulson’s six goals and Kevin Powers 10 points as they picked up their first-ever victory at the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor World Championship, defeating another team making their debut on the world stage, Costa Rica, 24-4.
Costa Rica received two goals apiece from Bryan Steve Mora Salazar and Daniel Mauricio Quesada Rodriguez. Australia wrapped up the second seed in their pool with a 16-6 win over Austria to finish 3-1. The Austrians came third at 2-2.
The Aussies were up 2-1 after 15 minutes and put the game away with a 9-1 advantage in the second quarter.
Lucas Wood (five goals, one assist), Jesse Whinnen (one goal, five assists) and Tim Ratje (four goals, two assists) all had six-point games for the Australians.
Klaus Hauer matched that for the Austrians with a goal and five helpers while Adrian Balasch and Rintaro Fujita had a pair of goals and an assist apiece.
Finland was off on the final day of pool play as they rested up for the Championship Bracket.
“One of the things I have always loved about coaching the Finns is their willingness to work hard and do all the little things. We play with a lot of grit but we have also found ways to score goals. On both sides of the ball we have been really composed as opposed to years past where I think at times we get away from playing lacrosse and it’s almost like a bunch of guys running around crazy,” Finland coach Tracey Kelusky said. “A tournament like this, enjoy it, enjoy the moment and the accomplishment of being first in our pool. We have goals. We checked that first box and hopefully we are going to check that next box. We know there is still a lot of work to do,” he added about the message to his team as they awaited their first game in the Championship Bracket.
Photos by Vancouver Sports Pictures
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