Onondaga Arena Hosts USA & Canada Match Tonight at 7:30; Winner earns Semi-Final Berth.
Tonight USA (2-1) will face Canada (2-0). The winner will lock up a spot in the semi-finals, a Canada win will give them the top seed overall in the Blue Division.
After an opening night loss to Iroquois 13-9, USA has come back to defeat the Czech Republic 14-7 and England 13-9.
USA is led by Joe Walters (6G/12A/17GB). Walters is not only putting the ball into the back of the net but he is also dishing out the assists, just as he does during the NLL season with the Rochester Knighthawks.
USA will need to play flawless against Canada as they thrive on other teams mistakes. Garrett Thul (6G/4A), Kevin Buchanan (4G/6A), Marcus Holman (4G/5A), Joe Resetarits (4G/2A) have been the leaders on the offense, and will have to put it into overdrive tonight.
One big surprise to the offense has to be Jeff Ratcliffe. After stepping away from the game 7 years ago due to injury, “The Rat” has compiled 3 goals and one assist and has been playing very solid in his role for USA and he is definitely having fun.
The defense and transition will also need to be flawless. They must limit the number of second and third shots for team Canada and allow goaltender Jake Henhawk to see every shot.
After a slow start in the first game, Henhawk has stopped 69 of 95 shots faced, for a save percentage of 73. Against Canada it will have to be more then that.
Canada is led by Mark Matthews (9G/4A) and Shawn Evans (3G/10A), and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the offensive power for them. Dan Dawson (3G/6A), Stephan Leblanc (2G/8A). Adam Jones (3G/4A) and Dhane Smith (4G/3A) have only played one game.
Their defense and transition is very stingy with Kyle Rubisch, and Brett Mydske, two of the best on defense. Add in Brad Self and Jordan MacIntosh on transition and it leaves the opponent very little room for error.
Between the pipes Brandon Miller and Aaron Bold have split the duties so far. Bold getting a victory over the Iroquois by stopping 34 of 43 shots. And Brandon Miller, who picked up his first win over the Czech Republic by stopping 24 of 26 shots.