Team USA Dominates Iroquois Behind Pannell
The United States secured the top seed and a bye to the semifinals at the FIL World Championship by dominating the Iroquois Nationals in the final Blue Division pool play game for both teams, 18-5. Rob Pannell scored seven goals, including the first three of the game, helping Team USA roll out to a 10-0 lead at the halftime break.
The seven goal outburst for Pannell is the second most in Team USA history, tied with Brooks Sweet for a similar performance against Australia in 1982. The all-time record is nine goals, scored by Pat O'Meally against Australia in 1974. With 14 through group play, Pannell is within range of the top goal-scoring performances in team history, led by Mark Millon's 26 in 1994, with Scott Urick (2006), Mike Morrill (1994) and Millon (1990) tied for second with 20.
Paul Rabil had three goals and three assists, while Brendan Mundorf (2G, 1A) and Marcus Holman (1G, 2A) also chippd into the rout, which saw nine U.S. players score goals, six of whom also notched at least one assist.
By dominating the possession, combining dominant play at the face-off (Chris Eck and Greg Gurenlian combined to go 17-for-24) and on ground balls (a 34-21 advantage), Team USA kept the powerful Iroquois offense a non-factor through most of the game. It was only during the third quarter that the Nationals seemed to develop a rhythem, but they were never able to put together a run the way they did against Canada, where they turned a 8-3 third quarter deficit to a tie game before eventually falling on Curtis Dickson's last-second goal.
Miles Thompson had three goals for the Nationals, with brother Lyle assisting on two and Jeff Shattler assisting on two others. Warren Hill made eight saves in the first half for the Iroquois, giving way to Marty Ward (four saves) for the second half.
The Iroquois could still finish second in the Blue Division if Australia can defeat Canada in the final game of the night by less than three goals. Otherwise, the Nationals will be seeded third and face Scotland in knockout play Wednesday afternoon.
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