NETANYA, ISRAEL – The 2018 FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championship final came to a controversial end on Saturday in Netanya, Israel, with the United States besting Canada on a last-second goal to claim gold. It was a heartbreaking end to a great tournament from the Canadians, who were trying to defend the World Championship title they won four years ago in Denver, Colorado.
Tom Schreiber of the U.S. scored with one second left in the game, much to the dismay of the Canadian coaches and players who were convinced time should have run out. A discrepancy between the stadium clock, the one the coaches and players were relying upon all game, and official game clock seemed to cause the confusion.
The American’s missed the net on a pair of chances on their final possession, prior to the game-winning goal, but it appeared the game clock failed to restart when the ball was brought back into play. There was also issues on how much time should be left on the clock following Schreiber’s go-ahead marker.
It was a tough loss for the Canadians.
“It is what is is,” said head coach Randy Mearns post-game. “It felt to us like there was nine seconds on the clock, and the play started and the clock didn’t move for four seconds, and it went on and on. The U.S. took a shot and there was four seconds left and we were like, ‘How is it not at zero.’”
“It was chaotic down there. I don’t know what else to tell you,” he added.
But regardless of the controversy, it was a tremendous game between the North American rivals, who were meeting in the World Championship final for the sixth consecutive time.
Curtis Dickson led the way for Canada with three goals, while Ben McIntosh and Mark Cockerton added two each. Mark Matthews netted the other, chipping in an assist as well.
Dillon Ward made 9 saves in the game, including 7 in the first half, for a Canadian squad that was outshot 31-21.
After allowing the first two goals of the game to Tom Schreiber and Paul Rabil, Canada’s offense came to life, scoring four straight times to end the first quarter with a 4-2 lead. Dickson started and finished the scoring, with McIntosh and Matthews also finding the back of the net.
The U.S. clawed their way back to tie the game in the early second quarter, thanks to goals from Ryan Brown and Matt Danowski, but Cockerton and McIntosh replied soon after to put Canada up 6-4 at the half.
The Americans scored the only two goals of the third quarter off the sticks of Brown and Marcus Holman, which tied the game at 6-6 with only 20 minutes to go.
The team’s went back and forth in the final frame, exchanging goals until the final minutes. Dickson opened the scoring, with Schreiber responding shortly after. Cockerton put Canada back on top, with a 8-7 lead, which is when the momentum suddenly changed.
Canada won the ensuing face-off, but a questionable offsides call during the clear gave the U.S. possession of the ball. Ryan Brown tied the game with a laser past Canadian goaltender Dillon Ward with 3:43 left on the clock.
“We didn’t feel like we were offside,” stated Mearns. “That happened with about three minutes left. We were up a goal and we have the ball…and we are pretty good at holding the ball.”
Schreiber would score the game-winner on his team’s final possession, giving the U.S. their 10th World Championship title.
A large contingent of Canadians took home individuals awards for their performances throughout the tournament.
The FIL All-World team included five Canadians: defenders Graeme Hossack and Ryland Rees, midfielder Ben McIntosh, attack Curtis Dickson, and goaltender Dillon Ward. Ward and Dickson were named the tournament’s best goaltender and attacker, respectively.
U.S. defender Michael Ehrhardt was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
The late Dave Huntley, architect of the Canadian men’s field national team program who passed away earlier this year, was posthumously honoured with the FIL’s Spirit of Lacrosse Award.
Canada’s senior men’s field team will look to reclaim gold on home soil in four years when Coquitlam, British Columbia welcomes the lacrosse world for the 2022 FIL Men’s Laccrosse World Championship.