May 28, 2011

Canada Dominates Iroquois in FIL Gold Medal Game, Improves to 17-0 in Indoor Competition

by Neil Stevens | LaxMagazine.com


Jordan Hall scored Canada's first two goals Saturday before the floodgates opened in a 13-6 victory over the Iroquois Nationals in the FIL world indoor championship gold medal game in Prague.

© Larry Palumbo

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- Matt Vinc was outstanding in goal and Jordan Hall, Dan Dawson, Shawn Evans, Josh Sanderson and Rhys Duch scored two goals each as Canada defeated the Iroquois Nationals 13-6 to win its third straight world indoor lacrosse championship Saturday night.

Brodie Merrill, Colin Doyle and John Grant Jr. added goals, as Canada improved to 17-0 in world championship indoor play. It won the inaugural tournament in 2003 in southern Ontario and triumphed again in 2007 in Halifax.

Cory Bomberry scored twice and Dean Hill, Roger Vyse, Jeff Shattler and Cody Jamieson once each for the Nationals, who had to settle for silver for the third straight time.

''Credit to the Iroquois,'' said Ed Comeau, Canada's head coach. ''They never quit. They played hard and they're a great team. We gained momentum early and kept it going. Then after that point, it was a chase, and we felt that if we could control the ball and possessions, we'd put ourselves in a position to win the game.''

Overtime was needed to quell the Nationals four years ago, but the writing was on the wall in this one long before halftime. Vinc and Canada's defense played too well to let this one slide.

''Matt just left off where he's been the last couple of years -- NLL goaltender of the year -- and he certainly played great tonight," Comeau said. "When we needed the big save, he made it for us. It was great for him and our defense to hold a great shooting team like the Iroquois to six goals. It's a huge compliment to our whole squad, and Matt was front and center in that.''

Doyle was ecstatic.

''It feels good to win the gold,'' the captain said. ''We earned it. We were a great team. There's no doubt about that. Our roster was stacked with talent. This was a team that came here for a purpose and was focused and driven. It was an unbelievable experience with these guys.''

Nationals coach Duane Jacobs lamented the hole his team found itself in at halftime.

''It was a tough one,'' Jacobs said. ''I think we lost the game in the middle of the second quarter when they went on a six-goal run. We couldn't recover.''

Jacobs rued the missed chances.

''We hit a lot of pipes,'' he said. ''If those ones would have dropped, maybe it's a different, little tighter game. But I'm proud of the guys. We never quit -- we only allowed them four goals in the second half.''

Casey Powell of the United States, which won bronze, was named tournament MVP.

The Nationals scored first in the game for gold. Rory Smith was serving a major penalty for a high hit off ball on Shattler when Bomberry whipped in a sidearm bullet during a power play in the sixth minute. Smith heaved a sigh of relief when his teammates relinquished only the one goal while he sat in the box.

Hall put Canada on the board when he slithered around his check, faked a shot and fired the ball from in close into a top corner of the Iroquois net. Vinc made several big saves before Hall struck again. He put Canada up 2-1 by diving from behind the net to swing the ball behind Iroquois goalie Mike Thompson late in the first quarter.

Canada raced ahead with four goals in the first five minutes of the second quarter. Dawson converted a long pass from Brodie Merrill, who scored himself when Pat Merrill intercepted a pass and fed his younger brother for a breakaway. Evans struck on a fast break, and Sanderson fired one in off a pass from behind the net from Colin Doyle.

It was suddenly 6-1.

The Nationals then lost Thompson when teammate Manuel Johnson hit Pat Merrill from behind into Thompson, who needed support under both arms to go to his team's dressing room favoring his left leg. Angus Goodleaf took his place in goal.

Hill made it 6-2, and Canada got the next three. Sanderson scored with a bouncer in close to the crease, Duch worked a give-and-go play with Doyle to beat Goodleaf and Dawson fired in a long overhand bouncer to make it 9-2 at halftime.

Two minutes into the third quarter, Grant set up Doyle to put Canada ahead 10-2. Vyse responded with a long sidearm shot to cut Canada's lead back to seven, 10-3. Shattler made it 10-4 but there would be no rally -- not the way Canada's defensemen pushed Iroquois attackers to the perimeter.

Duch and Grant fired in bouncers, and it was 12-4 at the end of the third quarter.

Jamieson scored early in the fourth and Evans came right back with a shot through Goodleaf's legs. Canada played keepaway most of the last five minutes. Bomberry scored with 59 seconds remaining for the final margin.


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