LIMERICK, Ireland – The top four seeds advanced to the semifinals on Wednesday at the 2022 World Lacrosse Men’s U21 Championship.
The United States and Canada coasted to quarterfinal wins against Puerto Rico and Ireland while Australia and the Haudenosaunee pulled out thrilling contests that went down to the wire against Japan and England.
Australia will face Canada in the first semifinal on Thursday at 4 p.m. on ESPN+ before the Haudenosaunee take on the United States at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.
Australia bested a previously undefeated Japan team, 8-6, in the first quarterfinal. The Aussies trailed 6-4 entering the fourth quarter, before going on a 4-0 run over the final 15 minutes to earn the win. The go-ahead goal from Mitchell Baker came with just under 8 minutes to play and gave Australia its first lead since a 1-0 score line that lasted two minutes halfway through the first quarter.
Australia is making its seventh trip to the quarterfinals in its ninth appearance at the event, and will earn its second top-four finish in a row. A semifinal win would give Australia its first trip to the final since 1996.
Baker led the offense with two goals and two assists, while Connor McDonough added two goals and an assist. Australia’s defense was superb on the day, allowing just 11 shots on goal. Goalkeeper Jaesaya Bidwell-Barton made five saves, including crucial stops in the scoreless fourth quarter.
Japan nearly completed the upset without its usual face-off midfielder, but saw a strong effort from Taisei Chikakane, who won seven out of 12 face-offs. Japan won 19 ground balls compared to 13 for Australia, led by five from Rei Yamamoto.
Canada advanced to its ninth straight semifinal in the event with a 17-7 win over Ireland in the second quarterfinal. Canada was boosted by two separate 5-0 runs and never led by less than four goals throughout the second half.
Canada has made the semifinals in all of its appearances at the tournament and will look to make the gold medal game for the sixth time in a row and seventh overall.
Six players had three or more points for the dynamic Canadian offense, led by Ross Scott with seven points on four goals and three assists. Smith is now tied for fifth in points at the tournament with 20. Noah Manning added four goals, while Canada’s defense allowed just eight shots on goal.
Bo Columbus produced the best display of the tournament so far on face-offs, going 28-for-28. It was the most face-offs won in a game and the highest single-game face-off percentage. Columbus now leads the tournament with 68 total face-offs won.
Conor Foley recorded a hat trick for Ireland and goalkeeper Joe Walsh made 13 saves.
The Haudenosaunee held off England to win their quarterfinal, 7-5. The Haudenosaunee scored with 40 seconds left in the first half to take a one goal lead, and outdueled England 3-2 in the second half to hang on for the victory.
It is the sixth time the Haudenosaunee have made the semifinals in eight appearances, and the third in a row. A win in the semifinals would lead to a first-ever gold medal game appearance.
Gregory Elijah-Brown was transcendent, scoring five of the team’s seven goals on six shots. Midfielder Aidan Fearn won 10 of 16 face-offs. Both goalkeepers saved over half their shots, but Jack VanValkenburgh continued his campaign as one of the best netminders in Limerick with nine saves on 14 shots faced. He now ranks second in the tournament with 57 saves.
England’s goalkeeper Samuel Rogerson made nine saves.
The United States won the last quarterfinal of the day with a dominant 21-3 victory against Puerto Rico. The USA went on a 6-0 run in the first half and closed the game on a resounding 11-0 run.
The United States is advancing to the semifinals again as it chases its ninth consecutive gold medal.
Alexander Slusher spurred the offensive outburst with four goals and four assists, tying the tournament high for points. Brennan O’Neill added five goals and an assist while Christopher Kirst chipped in four goals and an assist. The United States defense allowed just five shots on goal.
Three teams advanced to the platinum bracket semifinals with wins: Korea; Hong Kong, China; and Wales. They will join the Netherlands, which advanced on Tuesday.
Korea defeated Latvia, 7-6, in the first overtime game of the tournament on a game-winning goal from Jisung Jung. Ethan Ashley scored four goals to retake his spot atop the goals leaderboard in Limerick with 20.
Latvia goalkeeper Ryan Richters set a tournament-high with 21 saves and now leads the tournament with 58 saves overall.
Hong Kong, China edged Poland, 7-6, on a go-ahead goal with just over three minutes to play from Dash Tsai, his third of the game. Poland led 5-4 with the first goal of the fourth quarter, but Hong Kong landed three of the last four goals in a dramatic finish. Liam Ferris registered four points on two goals and two assists.
Jared Heller scored three goals for Poland and Ryan Prylinski made 13 saves on 20 shots.
China defeated Uganda in platinum consolation play, 10-5. Keegan Hughes tallied four goals and an assist, and is tied for the third most goals in Limerick.
August 17 Results
Championship Bracket Quarterfinals
Australia 8, Japan 6
Canada 17, Ireland 7
Haudenosaunee 7, England 5
United States 21, Puerto Rico 3
Latvia 6, Korea 7 (OT)
Hong Kong, China 7, Poland 6
Wales 9, Sweden 13
China 10, Uganda 5
August 18 Schedule
All times Irish Standard Time.
Championship Bracket Semifinals
4 p.m. // Australia vs. Canada, Field 1, ESPN+
7 p.m. // United States vs. Haudenosaunee, Field 1, ESPN+
12 p.m. // Israel vs. Japan, Field 2, LSN
3 p.m. // Germany vs. Ireland, Field 2, LSN
5 p.m. // Jamaica vs. England, Field 3, LSN
6 p.m. // Czech Republic vs. Puerto Rico, Field 2, LSN
Platinum Bracket Semifinals
10 a.m. // Netherlands vs. Korea, Field 1, LSN
1 p.m. // Hong Kong, China vs. Sweden, Field 1, LSN
11 a.m. // China vs. Kenya, Field 3, LSN
2 p.m. // Poland vs. Wales, Field 3, LSN