Preview Geoff Shannon’s recap of the United States’ comeback win over Team Canada in the U-19 FIL World Lacrosse Championship on Inside Lacrosse below as the tournament featured potential future National Lacrosse League stars competing for gold.
“COQUITLAM, B.C. – The 2016 boys’ U-19 championship game felt like deja vu all over again,” Shannon writes. “As in so many recent FIL tournaments, Canada had built a surprise lead on the United States, and were once again ready to walk away with another international championship over their rivals.”
This time, though, the boys in red, white and blue would not be denied gold.
Down 8-2 at halftime, the U.S.’s U-19 squad stormed back in a dramatic second half comeback, taking home the 2016 U-19 gold medal with a 13-12 win over Canada in front of a capacity 3,000 fans.
“It’s hard to put it words. It’s humbling,” U.S. head coach Nick Myers said. “This is an incredible staff, an incredible group of men. It’s been a wild year and a half. A lot of people have made this possible. I’m very grateful, excited and proud.”
With eight seconds left, U.S. midfielder and former No. 1 recruit Ryan Conrad (Virginia) scored the game-winning goal, slapping the ball past Canada goalie Kyle Hebert (Stony Brook) on a feed by teammate Simon Mathies (Penn).
The play, called Buffalo, started with the U.S. overloading one side of the offense, while and midfielder Jared Bernhardt dodges from the opposite side.
“We moved it backside and I was lucky enough to get open on the crease and finish it for the win,” Conrad said, who finished with two goals Saturday, said. “It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever been a part of. We stuck together as a team. One of our biggest mottos on this team was unbreakable brotherhood. We needed to rely on experience, and our leaders, and we ended up getting the job done.”
Bernhardt, who received FIL Tournament MVP honors for his superior week, had scored the game-tying goal a little over two minutes before, part of a four-goal, fourth quarter run by the U.S. to seal the victory.
Face-off midfielder Austin Henningsen (Maryland) was clutch in the second half, winning the possession battle and finishing 15-for-25 in the contest. His wins fueled the U.S.’s comeback.
“It was incredible,” Myers said. “I challenged him before the game. We knew what he was capable of. We didn’t feel like he had his best stuff yet, him and Christian [Feliziani] were a 1-2 punch all tournament, and we felt like we had a fresh Austin because of that.”