Day one of The World Games 2022 got off to a blistering start in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, with all eight men’s teams in action in the preliminary round as men’s lacrosse made its debut in the event, as did World Lacrosse Sixes.
Great Britain, Israel, Canada and the United States earned the first four wins of the tournament on a day that included 132 goals in 128:46 of high-speed play among the top men’s lacrosse teams in the world.
In a back-and-forth opening match that featured a tied score on six different occasions – including with less than four minutes to go in the game – Great Britain notched the come-from-behind victory over Australia, 13-11. It was the newly minted Great Britain team’s first time playing in a major international event in lacrosse, combining powerhouse talent from England, Scotland and Wales.
Tom Bracegirdle tallied the game-winner with under 2:00 to play in regulation, while both Ben Page-Laycock and Lyndon Bunio put up hat tricks, and Will Baxter made 13 saves to earn the victory in net. Meanwhile, all 11 field players for Australia factored in the scoring, led by three-point efforts (1-2—3) from Matt Fuss and Lachlan Walker.
Game two was an instant classic, with Israel overcoming a five-goal deficit in the fourth quarter, tying the game in the final minute of play as Isaac Bock completed a hat trick. Ian Kadish then used his fifth goal of the game to secure the sudden victory 46 seconds into the first overtime period, 21-20. Matt Popeck and Zach Pall each also tallied four goals in the win.
Shinya Tateishi was the star for Japan, scoring a tournament-leading six goals, as Japan outshot Israel by a 37-34 margin. Compatriot Tomoki Umehara currently holds the lead among all teams with seven points (4-3—7).
In game three, the stacked Canadian team scored a pair of goals in the first minute of play and never looked back, maintaining the lead throughout the match and notching a 21-9 victory. A quartet of pro players from the Premier Lacrosse League and National Lacrosse League contributed a combined 14 goals for Canada, with Josh Byrne and Jeff Teat each amassing four goals, and Jordan MacIntosh and Zach Currier recording hat tricks.
The Haudenosaunee, who were playing in their first international multi-sport event, were led by a Jakob Patterson hat trick. Patterson was a late roster addition after an injury prevented Lyle Thompson from attending The World Games.
In the final game of the day, the U.S. men quickly established why they’re the top-ranked team in the world (in field lacrosse). Connor Kirst put up a dominating offensive display with five goals on six shots, while the U.S. outshot the Germans by a 51-32 margin. Matt Brandau posted an additional four goals in the opening win, with a trio of hat tricks from Ryan Conrad, Colin Heacock and Tom Schreiber.
Play resumes tomorrow with four preliminary round games (all times local, CT):
10:30 a.m. // Australia vs Germany
12 p.m. // Japan vs Canada
2 p.m. // Haudenosaunee vs Israel
3:30 p.m. // Great Britain vs United States
Pending the resolution of venue infrastructure issues outside of World Lacrosse’s control, tomorrow’s games will be broadcast live on the Olympic Channel at Olympics.com.