(COMMERCE CITY, CO) A huge 8-0 run helped Team USA take a key victory over Canada to open the 2014 FIL World Championships, 10-7. Paul Rabil scored two and assisted on two more to key the rally, which carried the defending champions from a 3-0 deficit to an 8-3 lead that they never relinquished.
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U.S. Men Run to 10-7 Win Over Canada to Open FIL Tourney
DENVER – Eight straight goals helped the U.S. Men’s National Team open the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships with a big win over Canada, its finals opponent in each tournament since 1998. Flipping a 3-0 deficit early in the second quarter to an 8-3 lead deep in the third, the run powered an eventual 10-7 victory for the defending World Champions.
Midfielder Paul Rabil – the 2010 Best and Fairest Player (MVP) of the World Games in Manchester, England – sparked the rally, assisting on two of the first three scores and scoring goal No. 4 unassisted to give his team its first lead of the day. He added another late as the U.S. Men held off the pesky Canadians, who scored three of the final four goals to keep the pressure on as time wound down.
Credit Jesse Schwartzman and America’s defense for strong play against a very good Canada offense, which was held scoreless over a 30 minute stretch during the U.S. run. Schwartzman made seven saves to earn the win, while Team USA allowed Canada just 20 shots on the night, compared to 40 that its offense generated.
Chris Eck (8-for-16) and Greg Gurenlian (4-for-5) also played a big role for the U.S., locking down the advantage at the X over Canada’s Geoff Snider (9-for-21). Five of those wins came on violations, while Eck and Gurenlian were whistled three times.
Team Canada goalie Dillon Ward was outstanding in the losing effort, totaling 18 saves to help his team keep it close despite the U.S. run. His team’s offense just ran dormant for that long period and never could get back to within less than three of the defending champions. Zack Greer scored twice for Canada, while Mark Matthews had a goal and an assist.
Rob Pannell and Kevin Buchanan (2G, 1A each) both also had solid games in their World Championships for Team USA. In total, seven players scored goals for Richie Meade’s squad, and six of the ten goals were assisted.
Both teams have an off-day as the rest of the tournament kicks off with games all day on Friday. Team USA looks to stay perfect in Blue Division play with Australia – third place in 2010 – on Saturday at 5 p.m. Canada takes on England at 8 p.m. immediately following that contest.
Story at LaxMagazine.com: U.S. Men Run to 10-7 Win Over Canada to Open FIL Tourney