Dickson's Strike Lifts Canada Over Iroquois in Thriller
In a game for the ages, Curtis Dickson scored a game-winning goal with 19 seconds remaining on the clock, lifting Canada to a 9-8 win over the Iroquois Nationals in front of a capacity crowd on Sunday night in FIL World Championship group play.
The winner came off a feed from Jeremy Noble, who drew a double-team as the final minute of the game wound down that left Dickson alone right along the crease, where he was able to turn the corner and beat Iroquois goalkeeper Warren Hill.
"That was just kind of a broken-down [play]," Dickson said. "We ran a set piece and got nothing, and the rest was 100% Jeremy Noble. I just got to the right place and was lucky enough to be able to finish it off."
For there to be a heroic moment at all was due to a huge comeback from the Iroquois, who were down 6-1 at the half and 8-3 late in the third quarter. Five straight goals, the last on a man-up strike from Craig Point (1G, 1A) to Randy Staats (2G), knotted the score at eight, setting up eight minutes of nail-biting back and forth action before Dickson finally won back the advantage for the 2010 silver medalists.
Besides Dickson's three tallies and Noble's goal and two assists, Canada was led by two goals and two assists by Adam Jones on offense, and a huge night from goalie Dillon Ward, who stopped ten shots from the Iroquois sharp-shooters, including some point-blank looks that helped Canada maintain its early lead.
"He was phenomenal," said Canada head coach Randy Mearns. "[The Iroquois] can hum the ball, and he was making split saves, and having them go off his toe. It was really a goaltenders battle."
Hill actually had one more save than Ward, stopping 11 on the night despite having to backstop while Canada had 10 extra-man opportunities on the game. They only struck on one, while the Iroquois hit on two of five chances.
Lyle Thompson anchored the Iroquois offense, scoring three and assisting on another, truly taking things over once he was moved from midfield to attack in the second half. Miles Thompson and Cody Jamieson chipped in with a goal and an assist each, as the Nationals rallied behind strong support from the crowd of over 6,000 to claw back into the contest despite such wide deficits in the second half.
"I'm full of confidence with these guys," said Iroquois head coach Steve Beville. "It's a big moment to know that we had [a chance to win], but we made too many mistakes and the other team scored one more goal.
"You can't put yourself into a hole against the Canadian world team, but I feel like we showed we were not only capable of playing them, but outplaying them in parts of the game."
Both teams moved to 2-1 in group play, leaving them tied with Australia behind the United Stats (3-0) and ahead of winless Japan and England with two games left. Action continues Monday with the Iroquois facing 2010 third place winner Australia in a key game for knockout placement and Canada taking on Japan. On Tuesday, Canada will close out group play with Australia while the Iroquois take on Team USA.
"We know we have some things to improve on, and we start that [today] against Japan," Dickson said. "We know we're probably going to see these guys later on, but games like this are going to help us grow as a team."
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