Canada suffered its first loss of the 2018 FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championship, falling 11-10 to the United States in a highly competitive and entertaining matchup between the world’s top two teams. Canada now sits at 2-1 with two round-robin games remaining.
Goaltender Dillon Ward made 12 saves on 33 shots in a losing effort, while his counterpart John Galloway saved 8 of 28 shots for the U.S., who moved to 3-0 in the tournament.
Jeff Teat finished with three goals, while Curtis Dickson and Ben McIntosh each contributed with a pair of their own. Wes Berg, Zach Currier, and defender Ryland Rees added the others.
The Canadians, down 2-0 after the first quarter and 6-4 at halftime, found their stride in the second half and clawed their way back into the game.
“We came out a little bit slow,” said midfielder Wes Berg. “They went up on us, but we were resilient and started to figure it out. In the second half we really showed what we were capable of.”
McIntosh gave Canada its first lead of the game at the 5:50 mark of the fourth quarter, capping of a three goal that saw Berg and Teat also find the back of the net.
Unfortunately for Canada, the lead was short lived.
Matt Danowski tied things up at 10-10, before Paul Rabil fired a shot past Ward to put the Americans back on top with only 1:10 left in the game.
Greg Gurenlian won the ensuing face-off for the U.S., only to lose possession after Canada’s request for a stick check was confirmed by the referees. He was assessed a one-minute penalty, giving Canada possession and a man-up opportunity with 1:01 remaining on the clock.
Despite great ball movement, Canada failed to capitalize on their last possession, falling to their rivals in the first matchup between the teams since the Canadians won 8-5 in the finals of the 2014 World Championship.
“They’re a really good team, so the fact that we were able to battle back in the second half shows some character on our part,” said McIntosh, a midfielder from Coquitlam, B.C.
Canada’s defense and goaltending were both solid in what was their toughest test of the tournament so far, holding a potent American attack to a tournament low 10 goals.
“Dillon Ward played fantastic in goal and bailed us out a few time for sure,” said defensive coordinator Taylor Wray.
“I think we played our best defensive game of the tournament so far,” added Wray. “We did some things well, but we’ve got some things we’ve got to clean up. I think we can be better in transition and be better with a man-down, and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”
The tournament won’t get any easier for Canada, who take on the Iroquois Nationals tomorrow, July 16, at 2:00pm ET. The Iroquois have a 2-1 record, with wins over England and Australia, and a loss on opening night to the U.S.