World Lax: USA one step away from gold medal game

USA’s Trevor Baptiste is checked by the Czech Republic’s Benjamin Lavallee. (Photo courtesy of Vancouver Sports Pictures)

Last night Team USA took another step closer to playing for the gold medal as they defeated the Czech Republic 17-3 to advance to the semi-finals at the 2019 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship.

From the opening whistle, Team USA had control of this game. David Mather received the start in goal while Brett Manney, Joe Resetarits and Joel White all received the night off. Halfway through the first quarter, USA built a solid 6-1 lead, with Blaze Riorden collecting two of the goals.

The second quarter seemed to get a bit sloppy as the passes and shots did not have any fire on them as they did in the first quarter, but they still outscored the Czech Republic 3-2 in the second quarter to take a 9-3 lead into the half. USA held a commanding 28-14 lead in shots.

The second half USA was on cruise control. They outshot the Czech 12-1 in the third quarter, and 15-7 in the fourth, while shutting out their opponents 8-0 in the second half.

Mather made the most of his start by keeping the Czech Republic scoreless for the final 34:32 of the game, while also turning away 19 of 22 shots faced.

Connor Kelly (4G/4A) led the offense on this day while Blaze Riorden chipped in with a hat trick and two assists. Connor Buczek, Dave Emala and Gale Thorpe chipped in with two goals apiece. Thorpe also collected four assists on the night as well.

The special teams were on target as well. Power play went 2-4 while the penalty kill was 3-4 and also collected a shorthanded goal.

Tonight at 5 p.m. (8 p.m. ET), USA will face the Iroquois Nationals in a rematch from Saturday night when they lost 12-10. The winner will go to the gold medal game Saturday night.

This game could be even tighter with Matt Rambo in the lineup, and could possibly be an upset. The stats of Lyle Thompson is still unknown. Rumours around the hotel is they held him out after injury in game one as a precaution.