This year’s all-star game should be renamed the all-star(s) game as there really was not one star who was brighter than the others as the Major League Lacrosse team defeated Team USA 15-14 in overtime.
It is true that Will Manny scored the game winning goal for the boys of Major League Lacrosse. However, it was truly a team effort of Herculean proportion that allowed this talented group of men to come together to beat the team that will represent the United States of America in a few weeks at the FIL Men’s World Championships in Israel.
Manny’s last goal was certainly not his most impressive of the night — he contributed two others and added an assist, among which was a one-handed stretch goal from behind the net. He was awarded the game’s MVP award. Kevin Rice also contributed three goals, while the stars and stripes were led by John Haus’s three goals.
Team MLL led 8-7 at the half but a four-goal third period propelled the USA to a 11-8 lead after three. Backstopped by John Galloway and Jack Kelly, the USA looked comfortable building a 14-8 lead nearly midway through the fourth.
But it appeared that the MLL players, some of whom tried out for and were cut by U.S. Lacrosse, had something to prove to the coaches who selected other people in their places.
They rattled off five straight, including a 2-point goal from Mike Chanenchuk, in a span of 5:42, to tie it up. Connor Buczek’s second goal of the game scored with 13 seconds left sent the game to OT.
Picking up goals for Team USA were some usual suspects in Rob Pannell (2) and Marcus Holman, and Team USA newcomers Tom Schreiber (2), Matt Kavanagh, Connor Kelly, Drew Snider and Jordan Wolf.
The MLL All-Star team also got goals from Zach Currier, Scott Ratliff, Mike Manley, Sergio Perkovic and Joel Tinney.
The win by the all-star team raises some questions as this USA team makes its final preparations before Israel. As usual, the Canadian team is stacked. Did the United States bank on the Canadian team not being able to bring its star-studded lineup and therefore take it easy these last few months? Did they go with the older guys instead of guys like Kieran McArdle or Dylan Molloy? Did tempers get the best of Kevin Unterstein (who knocked a stick out of a player’s hand) and Matt Danowski (who walked over to a player and screamed) because it was hot and muggy?
Needless to say, U.S. Lacrosse has its work cut out for them in the next few weeks.