For 50 glorious seconds, it looked like we might be witnessing the lacrosse version of “Miracle on Ice.” Team England exploded out of the gates with two quick goals against the powerhouse Canadian squad. English Coach Walt Christianson joked that he should’ve stuffed all five of his players into the net for the rest of the game to block the Canadian attack. Unfortunately for England, once the hometown team got rolling the outcome was never in doubt and Team Canada secured a birth in the World Lacrosse Finals with a 21-4 victory.
After a minor stumble out of the blocks, Canada sizzled on the offensive side of the ball. Saskatchewan Rush teammates Mark Matthews, Ben McIntosh and Robert Church dazzled the Langley crowd with their elite level skills combining for 26 points. A few unlikely names also made their way onto the scoresheet as defenders Bryan Cole, Steve Priolo, Kyle Rubisch and Matt Beers each chipped in with a goal apiece. Mike Poulin got the start between the pipes and put together a 47-minute stretch of shutout ball.
For England, Thursday night’s game represented their seventh game in seven days – a grueling schedule for anyone. Despite the loss, the English have taken tremendous strides forward with their lacrosse program. With a concerted effort to develop home grown talent, England’s team featured 12 players with only three games of box lacrosse under their belt. Despite the growing pains, Coach Christianson has to be commended for leading his team to a top four finish in the world.
This World Lacrosse Championships will conclude on Saturday with England taking on the United States in the bronze medal game at 8 ET. Canada will look to defend their title as they play the Iroquois Nationals in the gold medal game at 11 ET.