Team Canada is on track to defend their gold medal at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships, taking place in Langley, BC this month. Canada opened the tournament with two big wins over the USA and England.
In their opening game, Canada defeated Team USA 16-6. They led 7-2 after a first quarter in which they chased goaltender David Mather after their sixth goal. The USA never challenged the strong hometown team. Mark Matthews led Canada with a hat trick and four assists. Shayne Jackson and Robert Church each scored twice and added four assists. Zach Currier, Ben McIntosh and Dhane Smith scored twice and assisted twice. Curtis Dickson (2G/1A) and Dane Dobbie (1G/4A) also scored. Dillon Ward made 36 saves.
Kieran McArdle and Blaze Riorden each scored a hat trick for the USA. Gowah Abrams made 29 saves after coming in late in the first quarter.
Game two saw the Canadian squad take it to the English 18-5. Canada broke a 1-1 tie early with 12 straight goals. Eli McLaughlin, a game one healthy scratch, led with five goals and one assist. Curtis Dickson scored four Superman-esque goals and added four assists. Dhane Smith scored twice and was a force passing the ball with seven assists. Dane Dobbie also had a solid game with a hat trick and five assists. Canada’s deep defense and transition chipped in too, with Jake Withers, Zach Currier, Bryan Cole and Chris Corbeil all scoring.
Canada is so deep, in fact, that they healthy scratched Mark Matthews in game two after he led the team in scoring in game one.
In goal, Mike Poulin made 16 saves. With Ward and Poulin starting the first two games, look for Christian Del Bianco to take the reins in goal when Canada faces Israel on Sunday. The thought was that Poulin wouldn’t see much, if any, action in this tournament but the veteran goaltender just won the Mann Cup MVP award playing some of the best lacrosse of his life, so he’s back in the mix to challenge for the starter’s role come the playoffs. Until then, Canada will rotate their three goalies to further evaluate them.
Lyndon Bunio (2), Tyson Roe, Will Walker and Sam Clare scored for England. Frankie Scigliano made 39 saves in goal.
Canada is off on Saturday and returns to face Israel at 4:30 p.m. PT Sunday. All games can be watched live and free on LaxSportsNetwork.com.