World Lax: USA holds on to beat Canada

Dillon Ward (37) makes a save against the U.S. at the 2018 FIl Men’s Lacrosse World Championship. (Photograph credit: Oded Karni)

Team USA managed to stay in the lead and defeat Team Canada 11-10 despite an obvious penalty late in the fourth quarter of their game on Sunday at the World Field Lacrosse Championships in Netanya, Israel. The USA takes first place in the top pool of play with a 3-0 record while Canada falls to 2-1.

Canada trailed 7-4 in the third quarter but fought back to take a 10-9 lead at the 74:50 mark. Matthew Danowski tied the game at 10 two minutes later on an assist from Paul Rabil. Rabil then scored the go-ahead goal with 1:10 left to play.

“That was as good of a lacrosse game as I’ve ever been involved in,” said American head coach John Danowski. “But we all know, it’s only game number three.”

Desperate to tie things up again, an illegal stick owned by Greg Gurenlian was called out by Team Canada. After being inspected by the officials, it was determined that the ball could not move freely in and out of the pocket, so Gurenlian’s stick was removed from the game and he was charged with a three-minute penalty. Canada went to a man-up situation; however, that proved to be a moot point as they could not score the tying goal.

Interestingly, Gurenlian’s opponent at the X was Jake Withers, with whom he works at The Face-off Academy. Canada needed to make the move when they did to improve their chances of a win in case of a loss against the Iroquois.

Like most Canada-USA battles, play was intense. Several skirmishes between the players at various times during the field are usual in these games between the two. This game did not disappoint, especially as Canada’s box lacrosse tendencies for more physical play shone through.

“We came out a little bit slow,” said Canadian midfielder Wes Berg. “They went up on us, but we were resilient and started to figure it out. In the second half we really showed what we were capable of.”

The real stars of this matchup were the goalies, both of whom – Dillon Ward for Canada and John Galloway for the USA – proved to be two of the best in the world. They blocked repeated shots, sometimes seconds apart. Ward finished with 12 saves and Galloway eight.

Ryan Brown led the USA with three goals. Danowski and James Pannell each scored twice. Jeff Teat led Canada with three goals. Curtis Dickson and Ben McIntosh each had a pair. Faceoffs were split nearly evenly between Geoff Snider and Jake Withers for Canada, and Trevor Baptiste and Gurenlian.

The real show will come when these two teams (most likely) face each other for the championship. It will be interesting to see if Canada repeats what happened in the last outdoor event when the play slowed considerably. Canada lost to the USA in pool play but won the championship; in fact, the loser of the pool play game won the championship in 2006, 2010 and 2014.


— with files from Anna Taylor