OTTAWA, ON (July 14, 2016) – With a birth in the 2016 FIL U19 Men’s Lacrosse World Championship gold medal game on the line, Canada stepped up big in the second-half to rally back for a 14-11 win over the Iroquois Nationals. They will now challenge the seven-time defending champions from the U.S. in Saturday’s final.
Goalie Kyle Hebert, a native of Burlington, Ont., was the undeniable star of the game, making a number of great saves to help limit the damage from the high powered Iroquois offence. He faced a total of 27 shots and made 16 saves, the highest single-game save total by a goalie in the tournament thus far.
“I think Kyle played really well in there for us,” said head coach Taylor Wray (Edmonton, Alta.). “He came in during the second half against the U.S. and became our No. 1.”
The game got off to a rather slow start, with both squads using their first few offensive possessions to get a better feel for one another. Tanner Cook (Courtice, Ont.) opened the scoring at the 12:44 mark of the first quarter, but Austin Staats replied several minutes later to tie it up. Moments later, with a clear shooting lane Staats launched a rocket shot top-corner but was denied by a head but save from Hebert, keeping things locked at 1-1.
While it may have taken over 12-minutes to get the opening marker, this was not a sign of things to come as the next three quarters were full of goals, and they came in bunches.
A pair of tallies from leading scorer Jeff Teat (Brampton, Ont.), who had four in total, as well as a single from hometown favourite Thomas Semple (Coquitlam, BC), gave Canada a quick 4-1 lead to start the second quarter. The lead, however, was short-lived as the Iroquois replied with five straight goals of their own to put them up 6-4 heading into halftime.
Tehoka Nanticoke, who it seems scores nothing but highlight reel goals, finished with a team high four for the Iroquois. He scored perhaps his most impressive goal of the tournament with only seconds remaining in the second quarter, burying a shot while lying on the ground in front of the Canadian net, leaving the crowd in Coquitlam, B.C., in awe.
The third quarter started with some back-and-forth action, with the teams exchanging goals until the mid way point when Canada took over by scoring four unanswered in a four minute span. Two more quick ones to start the final quarter put the Canadian in command 12-9.
With a lead in place, the Mimico, Ont., duo of Jackson Suboch and Warren Jeffrey were key in forcing the talented Iroquois shooters to the outside, were they are much less dangerous. Some patient clearing plays and great ball movement between the midfielders, which included a snipe from Ryland Rees (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) with the long pole, helped kill off the clock.
“We needed to get some life in the second half,” stated Wray. “We talked to the guys about making little plays and I felt like we got a bunch of those to get the momentum going our way. I liked our determination and our resolve.”
Justin Inacio (Oakville, Ont.) went an impressive 17-for-25 on face-offs, and his coach was happy to praise him for his impact on outcome of the game.
“Justin did what he needed to do facing off,” added Wray. “That was really the difference.”
Canada will need all of their players to step-up if they want to avenge their 12-5 round robin loss to the U.S. and unseat them as U19 World Champions, and event that they have won every time since its inception in 1988. The action gets underway on Saturday, July 16 at 4:00PM PST.