Iroquois Nationals score 39 goals en route to 2-0 start at 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships. (Photo: Jesse Kushneryk)
In his second game in less than 24 hours, 2014 NLL scoring champ and MVP finalist Cody Jamieson exploded for seven points in the Iroquois Nationals’ 24-9 victory over Japan this afternoon in Commerce City. Colo. “Jammer” is one of three Rochester Knighthawks on the Iroquois team who remained undefeated at the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships.
“We're 2-0 now and the team's coming together great,” said Knighthawks forward Craig Point. “We just have to keep scoring and keep our young legs going hard.”
The Iroquois needed just 1:25 to open the scoring as co-Tewaaraton award winner Miles Thompson converted a pass from Syracuse standout Randy Staats to make it 1-0. Staats finished the game with an impressive eight-point effort (2+6) to give him 10 points in two games.
Next, it was Jamieson’s turn next as he scored off a restart, firing a quick stick shot past Japan goalie Takahkio Shinohara. Miles Thompson (2+7) picked up the assist and found Jamieson again 42 seconds later for his second of the game. Jamieson made it 3-0 and later tallied his third goal of the first quarter to put the Iroquois ahead 4-3. After Japan tied the game at four, the Nationals scored six of the game’s next seven goals in the second quarter to take a 10-5 lead at halftime.
The Iroquois broke open the contest in the third, scoring eight times to pull away 18-6. The fourth quarter was more of the same with the Nationals tacking on another six goals. The offensive display was an example of the chemistry the Iroquois are starting to build since arriving in Denver eight days ago.
“I think it’s just getting comfortable with everybody. We all haven’t played together before,” said Jamieson. “When we have, it’s been only a little bit and nothing at this stage. So it’s just a matter of getting comfortable with each other and getting better each game.”
The games are the first for Point and Jamieson in the field lacrosse version of the World Lacrosse Championships. The Iroquois have been the talk of the tournament thus far with fans lining up for autographs, and media documenting their every move.
“It’s been a great experience. There are a lot of teams and people from everywhere,” said Point about the record 38-team event. “It seems like we have a lot of people on our side, which is awesome.”
Point has turned heads with his shooting ability, which National Lacrosse League fans have become accustomed to for nearly a decade. Point, who netted the game-winning goal in the decisive game of the 2014 NLL Championship Series, will enter his ninth season in the NLL in 2015. His shots have been so impressive that it prompted one broadcaster to say, “I saw Craig Point shooting in practice the other day. Any dreams I had of returning to play goal immediately disappeared.”
Sid Smith, who is serving as one of the Iroquois captains along with Jamieson, has also drawn praise for his solid defensive work. The Six Nations product has been the anchor of the Nationals’ defense in his second FIL World Lacrosse Championships. The two-time Knighthawks captain scooped up two ground balls and helped limit Japan to two goals over the middle two quarters.
The unselfish play of the offense, however, has also contributed to the success of Smith, the Nationals defense and goalie Warren Hill. The Iroquois are focused on tempo and patience, despite possessing a multitude of offensive weapons.
“The biggest difference is trying to remain calm and slowing the ball down, especially when the defense has just played two minutes. We’re all used to getting the ball and going right away,” said Jamieson. “We’ve got to get used to taking our time and spinning the ball around a couple times and substituting. It’s just a matter of getting back into the field lacrosse mindset and going from there.
”The Iroquois definitely moved the ball well Saturday as 20 of the 24 goals were assisted, which included three straight goals that were set up by Jamieson in the fourth quarter. Two of those went to Vaughn Harris, who finished with three goals. Veteran Roger Vyse also notched three goals to go along with two assists, while Jerome Thompson scored four times.
“We’re just trying to get better every time we’re out together. Every team here will tell you it’s a battle to play this caliber (of lacrosse) each day,” said Jamieson. “We’re just trying to get better every time we take the field so by the time the round-robin ends we’re in the position we want to be in.”
The Iroquois, who opened the Worlds Friday with a 15-4 win over England, will return to action on Sunday when they battle Team Canada at 10 p.m. ET on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. Canada has two members of the Knighthawks on their team with Matt Vinc playing defense and Steve Lobsinger serving as the team’s athletic trainer.
For complete coverage of the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships, visit worldlacrosse2014.com