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Stories/Op-Ed

Canada Wins Fourth-Straight Wilc Title

SYRACUSE, N.Y. _ Canada’s world dominance in box lacrosse continues. A 12-8 victory over the Iroquois Nationals on Sunday earned Canada its fourth consecutive world indoor championship and stretched its all-time record to 23-0.

Curtis Dickson scored four goals, Shawn Evans and Dan Dawson two each and Zack Greer, Dhane Smith Steve Priolo and Stephan Leblanc one each for Canada.

It was 3-3 after one quarter, Canada led 6-5 after two and 8-6 after three in front of a Carrier Dome crowd of 8,000.

Iroquois scorers were Jeff Shattler and Randy Staats, with two each, Johnny Powless, Miles Thompson, Lyle Thompson and Jerome Thompson. The United States defeated Israel 15-4 in the game for bronze.

Canada had the upper hand in goaltending leading to the final of the 13-nation tournament with Matt Vinc, Aaron Bold and Brandon Miller, who are the finalists for goalie of the year in the pro indoor NLL. Vinc got the start and went the distance Sunday. 

Everyone expected a close final given the closeness – 11-9 for Canada – of the preliminary round meeting.

Dickson opened the scoring 56 seconds in with one of his fadeaway sidearm shots from the top of the attack’s right side. After the Nationals went ahead 2-1, Evans intercepted a pass near the crease, faked two shots and put the ball behind goalie Angus Goodleaf to tie it. The Nationals went ahead again, and Dickson tied it 3-3 with Vinc out and an extra attacker on the floor on a delayed penalty. 

Canada jumped ahead 5-3 with goals early in the second quarter: Dawson planted a bounce shot in a lower corner of the net from the middle of the zone; and Greer pulled a rebound out of the crease to score Canada’s second power-play goal. Shattler replied before Dhane Smith muscled his way through two checkers to score from the right side of the crease between Goodleaf’s legs for a 6-4 lead. Staats replied. Neither team could score in the last six minutes of the half. 

In the third quarter, Dawson and Dickson scored Canada’s third and fourth power-play goals _ Dawson on a breakaway and Dickson off a cross-crease pass from Mark Matthews _ to make it 8-5. Shattler replied with a power-play goal.

Lyle Thompson’s goal in the opening minute of the fourth made it 8-7, setting up a barn-burner of a finish.

Priolo raced towards Goodleaf on a breakaway and beat him with a bouncer at 4:21, jumping into the end glass to excite red-clad Canadian fans in the dome’s end section, and Leblanc fired in an overhand bullet from the left side at 5:03 for a 10-7 lead.

A third Iroquois power-play goal, this one by Staats, made it 10-8 with just over five minutes left.

Evans delivered the dagger. His overhand shot from the middle of the zone went over Goodleaf’s right shoulder and into the net for an 11-8 lead.

Goodleaf was lifted for an extra attacker and Dickson scored an empty-net goal 1:09 left.

The win was the third of significance for Bold and defenceman Ryan Dilks in the last four months. The two won the NLL title with the Edmonton Rush on June 5, the Canadian club title for the Mann Cup with the Victoria Shamrocks on Sept. 11, and now this.

Besides Bold and Dilks, other Team Canada players from the Rush are Mark Matthews, Zack Greer, Kyle Rubisch, Brett Mydske and Chris Corbeil. Team Canada’s Dan Dawson and Steve Priolo were teammates in Victoria of Bold and Dilks.

Eight players who won indoor gold Sunday were on the squad that won gold at the 2014 world field lacrosse championship on July 19, 2014, in Denver: Vinc, Matthews, Greer, Rubisch, Jordan MacIntosh, Adam Jones, Dan Coates and Curtis Dickson.

All four world indoor tournaments have resulted in a Canada-Iroquois-U.S. finish. While the indoor game is spreading in Europe, the lack of boxla youth leagues there leaves the indoor game’s development many years behind in skills development.

By Neil Stevens for Team Canada Lacrosse. Photo by Larry Palumbo.

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