July 17, 2010

Canada Does It Again, Downs Team USA

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | Game Blog

Team Canada goalie Chris Sanderson sizes up a shot Saturday during an 11-save performance in a 10-9 victory over Team USA in the FIL World Championships.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

MANCHESTER, England -- The U.S. men’s national team suffered its first-ever loss in international preliminaries Saturday, falling to defending world champ Canada in the FIL World Championships at the University of Manchester before 4,137 fans.

Tied 6-6 going into the fourth quarter, Team Canada star John Grant Jr. took over. He scored two of his three goals in the final frame, including the eventual game-winner with 4:13 remaining as his shot beat a late slide on the crease.

The U.S. led 3-2 after the first quarter on goals by Paul Rabil, Mike Leveille and long stick midfielder Kyle Sweeney -- the long pole’s third goal in two days.

Canada blanked Team USA in the second quarter, however, backstopped by five saves by goalkeeper Chris Sanderson. Billy Dee Smith, primarily a defensive midfielder, went coast to coast to tie the game at 3. Grant then went behind his back to put the Canadians up 4-3 at the 14:15 mark of the second quarter. They never trailed after that.

Sanderson made four more saves in the third quarter, but Team USA crept back into the game, tying it at 6 on Mike Leveille’s extra-man goal at the 3:26 mark.

Canada’s Kevin Crowley, a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist at Stony Brook (where U.S. team assistant Rick Sowell is the head coach) and late addition to the Canadian roster, spun inside the defense to score the go-ahead goal with 16:59 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Grant took over from there, first assisting on a goal by Garrett Billings to put Canada ahead 8-6 at the 14:35 mark and scoring the final two goals himself to keep the Canadians on top.

Team USA would not go down quietly, however, as the Americans pulled within a goal three times in the fourth quarter.

Drew Westervelt took a wing feed from Matt Striebel and unwound a low-to-high shot that beat Sanderson to make it 8-7 with 12:59 remaining.

Grant scored with his hands virtually tied less than two minutes later to make it 9-7.

The U.S. responded when team co-captain Kevin Cassese scooped a rebound off Sweeney’s hit pipe and ripped a top-shelf goal from long range.

After Grant put Canada back up by two, the U.S. responded when Max Seibald found Brendan Mundorf for a goal with 2:27 left to pull within 10-9.

Those were Seibald’s and Mundorf’s only points of the game, less than 24 hours after they combined for 11 points in Team USA’s tournament-opening win over Australia.

The final two minutes consisted of frantic scrums for possessions. Team USA’s last-ditch effort, a Hail Mary clear from Paul Rabil with five seconds left, nearly connected. But Ned Crotty could not get a shot off in time on the other end.

Duch, another Stony Brook product, added three goals for Canada. Sanderson finished with 11 saves.

Eight different scorers contributed Team USA's nine goals, led by two from Leveille. Striebel added two assists. Rabil finished with one goal and one assist.

The faceoff battle between Canada’s Geoff Snider and Team USA’s Alex Smith was split, with each going 10-of-20, many faceoff wins coming by way of illegal procedure calls.

Team USA is now 14-3 all-time against Canada, but the Canadians have won two straight in the storied rivalry. Canada previously defeated the U.S. in the 2006 and 1978 world championship finals.


FIL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - BLUE DIVISION PRELIMINARIES

Team Canada 10, Team USA 9

USA... 3-0-3-3... 9
CAN... 2-3-1-4... 10

Goals: USA - Leveille 2, Rabil, Sweeney, Striebel, Zash, Westervelt, Cassese, Mundorf; CAN - Duch 3, Grant 3, Small, Smith, Crowley, Billings.
Assists: USA - Striebel 2, Rabil, Boyle Seibald; CAN - Huntley 2, Grant.
Saves: USA - Dougherty 7; CAN - Sanderson 11.
Faceoffs: USA - Smith 10-of-20; CAN - Snider 10-of-20.

SATURDAY'S RESULTS

Blue Division
Japan 15, Germany 9
???Australia 10, England 8 (OT)
Canada 10, United States 9

Orange Division
Ireland 23, Slovakia 4
Switzerland 10, Korea 6

Red Division
Czech Republic 21, Mexico 1
Sweden 16, Italy 3

Plum Division
Spain 11, Norway 8

Turquois Division
Scotland 18, New Zealand 8
Latvia 16, France 6

Grey Division
Netherlands 29, Argentina 3
Wales 19, Austria 0

Yellow Division
Poland 15, Denmark 5
Finland 11, Bermuda 5


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