Iroquois Into FIL Semifinals After Battle With Scotland
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Four goals and two assists from Miles Thompson helped the Iroquois Nationals hold off a game Scotland team gunning for a huge upset to advance to Thursday's FIL World Championship semifinals against Canada, 10-8. Goalkeeper Warren Hill also had a starring role in the contest, making 12 saves.
"He played well, that's why he's our starter," said Iroquois head coach Steve Beville, who started Hill after he was sat at halftime of Tuesday evening's 18-5 loss against the United States but was right back at work against Scotland.
"He got a little shell-shocked last night, but I think our defense let him down [against Team USA]. We're counting on him to take us through this thing, and if we're gonna get it done, he's going to have to keep playing like this all the time."
Playing without Lyle Thompson, who was in Los Angeles attending the ESPY Awards ceremony as a finalist for Men's College Athlete of the Year, the Iroquois never looked comfortable on offense against a Scotland defense that packed into a tight zone, conceding outside shots but frustrating the usual cut and tight-passing game the Nationals favor.
Cody Jamieson assisted on three goals, with Randy Staats (two goals, two assists) and Roger Vyse (two goals, one assist) also putting down good performances, but they could never get more than a two or three goal advantage at any time against the plucky Scots. Goalkeeper Dean Stewart matched Hill with 12 saves, including some great ones against the NLL-heavy offensive crew.
"We kind of kept them at bay," Stewart said. "Trying to play them out one-on-one would have probably been a different outcome than what we did."
Scotland, which was led by two goals and three assists from Jimmy McBride and two goals each from Dan Heighway and Jesse Fehr, kept the game close by battling hard all over the field. Faceoff man Stefan Wyroslawski went 11-for-19 and Scotland held a 33-31 advantage off the turf, despite the Iroquois racking up an 11-6 advantage in the final quarter. They also scored on two of their three extra-man opportunities.
Scotland can still make it to a spot in the Blue Division for the 2018 tournament in Manchester, England, with a win on Thursday, taking on Japan for a spot in the 5th-6th place game. The Nationals are guaranteed a spot in the top division in four years, as they can finish no lower than fourth.
"We'll take the win – it's about surviving and advancing." Beville said. "We're still trying to get out of box mode with some of these guys, but we'll review some film and we'll be ready for Canada tomorrow at 7:30."
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