Iroquois Hold On To Beat USA in Bowhunter Cup
by Travis Larner | Knighthawks.com
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Iroquois Nationals held onto a lead late in the fourth quarter to defeat the USA 12-10 in the third annual Bowhunter Cup international indoor exhibition at The Blue Cross Arena on Saturday night.
The Nationals, who never relinquished the lead after taking a 2-1 advantage in the first, survived a flurry of shots from the Americans to maintain an 11-10 lead in the final minutes. Goaltender Mikey Thompson also had to deny Joe Resetarits on a penalty shot after a too many men call.
Thompson, who retired from the National Lacrosse League after the 2012 season, was playing possibly for the last time in an NLL arena, the home of the Rochester Knighthawks.
"That was a big reason why I wanted to play in this game. I don't know when my next opportunity to play in a facility like this is. I wanted to take full advantage of it," said Thompson, who was playing in his first Bowhunter Cup.
With a hat trick and an assist for the Nationals, Cody Jamieson was crowned the Player of the Game.
"It feels great. There's a lot of pride that goes into this game. They call it a 'friendly,' but as you can see, it got heated. It just goes to prove everybody is out there to win. Your country, your heritage, your jersey, it means something. It feels good to keep that trophy where it belongs," said Jamieson.
Grant Catalino and Resetarits scored a game-high five points apiece. Catalino, a native of nearby Webster, N.Y., netted a game-high four goals, matching his total from last year's Bowhunter Cup. Resetarits, who was recently drafted by the Calgary Roughnecks in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft, added two goals and three assists.
"We had our chances. That's all it really is. We fought back and had our chances early in the game and later in the game," Resetarits said. "We knew that the game of lacrosse is long, it's a 60-minute game. We knew what he had to do. It's a long game and momentum can switch."
Catalino gave the U.S. group its only lead of the contest 3:24 into the opening quarter. The Nationals went on a 6-2 run to finish in the first quarter. Brett Bucktooth scored a pair in the quarter, the first giving the Iroquois a 2-1 lead. Joe Hall's goal capped off the quarter to gain a 6-3 advantage.
"I think the ball was going their way sometimes and our way other times. I think it was pretty even throughout the game. I wouldn't say it was their side too much," Catalino said. "It's good to get our here and play. This is the game that I love."
Jamieson scored the only goal for the Nationals in the second quarter sandwiched around goals from Catalino and Resetarits. Action on the floor began to heat up as Craig Point and Matt Lovejoy each earned seven minutes in the box for roughing and fighting.
The Iroquois jumped out to their largest lead in the third. Two straight from Jeremy Thompson and Jamieson gave the Nationals a 9-5 lead, but the Americans would finish the frame with four of the last five goals.
David Earl finished the third with one of the craftiest goals of the game. After a power-play goal from Catalino cut the deficit to 10-8, Earl grabbed the loose ball on the ensuing faceoff and took it himself with a behind-the-back shot.
Powless scored the game winner to start the fourth. Fellow Knighthawk Joel White answered by splitting a double team and diving into the crease for the short-handed goal at 5:10.
Neither team was able to score for the next 9:48. Trailing 11-10, the U.S. frantically tried to get past Thompson, but was rejected, including the blocked penalty shot. The Nationals played keep-away to wind down the clock and Hall dropped one into an empty net with two second left.
"You get into this Bowhunter Cup and every game has been close," USA head coach Tim Soudan said. "Where we focused on was to make sure we had athletes that could get up and down. At points in the game, I think we wore them down and that's when we were able to score a couple goals.
"I didn't know what to expect going into it. I kind of figured our guys would answer the bell. We had a lot of character on our bench. I like the way we reacted."
The Nationals have now won the last three Bowhunter Cups after the U.S. won the first in 2010. All-time, the Nationals are 5-1 against the U.S. in international box games.