Canada kicked off the 2018 FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championship in Netanya, Israel with a 12-6 win over England on Friday night, marking the first step towards claiming a second consecutive gold medal.
Jeff Teat (3g, 2a) and Mark Matthews (1g, 4a) paced the offense with five points each under the lights at the Wingate Institute, Israel’s national sport centre. Curtis Dickson (3g, 1a) added four points of his own, while Josh Byrne finished with two goals.
“We’re happy with the win,” said Teat. “It was our first game together and we’re happy with how it started, but we have to keep improving over the course of the week.”
While Canada got the win, they were far from perfect.
“There are a lot of things we feel we need to improve on,” said head coach Randy Mearns. “We got the win and made some really nice plays, but there were times where we just threw the ball away, didn’t finish in transition, and had some mix ups in the box. We’ve got to clean all that stuff up.”
Defenders Latrell Harris and Tyson Bell, cousins from St. Catharines, Ont., each found each found the back of the net in their first international game.
“It was an amazing feeling,” said Harris, who was selected by his teammates as the Player of the Game. “My cousin Tyson [Bell] scored first, so I had to score to make it even for the family.”
It was the first game of the tournament for both Canada and England, which was evident given the slow pace of the first quarter. The action picked up as the game went along, turning rough near the end of the game with big hits and multiple penalties from both sides.
England, a team that finished in fifth place at the last World Championship in 2014, were led offensively by Ryan Hunns and Alfred Scarpello with three points each.
“It was a great matchup,” added Mearns. “Give credit to England, they played with a lot of heart and a lot of grit. They’re very talented and a much different team than they were in 2014.”
Tonight’s game marked the start of five consecutive for the Canadians. Canada’s next game is July 14, at 11:00am ET against Scotland.