Canada won the historic first men’s lacrosse gold medal at The World Games 2022 with a resounding 23-9 win over the United States on Tuesday night at PNC Field in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
Earlier in the evening, Japan won the bronze medal with a scintillating 19-18 overtime win over Great Britain in one of the most exciting contests of the event. The medal was the first a Japan team has claimed in a senior world-level event.
In the championship match, Canada jumped out to a 6-1 lead and never looked back as World Lacrosse Sixes captivated a packed and rowdy crowd. Canada finished its stint at The World Games with a 5-0 record, the best scoring offense and defense in the men’s tournament, and an average winning-margin of 14.4 goals.
Jeff Teat’s outstanding night paced Canada, as he scored four goals on four shots to go with three assists. Zach Currier was right behind with five goals on six shots. Josh Byrne also scored four goals on four shots and Dhane Smith contributed four points with two goals and two assists.
Currier said: “We did this together from top to bottom and are very thankful to come away with the gold medal. Every time we put on this jersey, the expectation is gold. We visualized ourselves in this moment throughout the whole week and we’ve been building toward it a little bit every day.”
Byrne and Smith finished atop the points leaderboard in the men’s competition with 28 and 25 . Currier had 21 points, and Canada overall had three of the five men’s athletes with 20+ points over five games in Birmingham.
In the rollercoaster bronze medal game, the lead changed six times as the teams traded blows early. Japan led by as many as four goals, but Great Britain summoned a gutsy fourth quarter effort with a three-goal run to tie the game with six minutes to play. Japan re-took the lead with three minutes to play before a dramatic goal from Ryan Hunns with 33 seconds to play ultimately sent the contest into overtime.
Hiroki Kanaya was instrumental to Japan’s high-powered offense with five goals and the game-winning assist in overtime to Kazuki Obana, who notched four goals of his own.
Lyndon Bunio delivered a Herculean effort for Great Britain and was responsible for half of his team’s offense with eight goals and an assist. Alex Russell added three goals and an assist.