ONONDAGA NATION – Ryan Benesch scored six goals and Matt Vinc was outstanding in the nets as Canada defeated the United States 18-7 to improve to 3-0 at the world indoor lacrosse championship Tuesday night.
Canada, 3-0, completes the first round against England on Wednesday, has Thursday off, and plays a semifinal Friday against an opponent yet to be determined.
“The U.S. played real hard,” said head coach Ed Comeau. “We expected them to give us a good game.
“There are lots of National Lacrosse League-calibre players on that roster and guys that want to be in the National Lacrosse League. They played tough defensively and took advantage of some chances early. Once we got out of penalty trouble we were able to get control of the game. Our guys played well. Our goaltending was good, our defence was exceptional and our offence moved the ball.
“We’re happy to get through that one.”
The United States, 2-2, awaits a Thursday quarter-finals opponent.
Scoring for the U.S. were Kevin Buchanan, with three goals, Joey Walters, with two, Jeff Ratcliffe and Joey Resetarits.
Benesch time and again braved traffic in the deep middle of the U.S. end to accept passes and instantaneously toss the ball into top corners of the net. Dhane Smith added three goals for Canada, Zack Greer, Chris Corbeil, Jordan MacIntosh got two each and Mark Matthews one.
“We played an all-around pretty good team game,” said Benesch. “Like coach said, our defence played amazing and Vino was great in net. Guys were moving their feet, moving the ball like we always preach and lanes opened up. Guys were getting good looks at the net and burying them when we got our chances.”
Canada jumped to a 3-0 lead. At 4-1, the U.S. lifted starting goalie Jake Henhawk and sent in David Mather, who has been a seldom-used third-stringer with the Langley, B.C., WLA team. Canada led 5-3 after one quarter, 10-6 after two, and 14-6 after three.
The U.S. had a 43-40 edge in shots on goal. The U.S. goaltending was not nearly as good as what Canada got from Vinc, who hadn’t played a game since the Mann Cup series in Victoria.
“Early in the game, I felt a little anxious,” he said.
On allowing only one second-half goal: “We settled down. It was the first time playing with a lot of our defencemen. Our D did a good job of putting a lot of their guys on the run and didn’t give them a lot of time and space.”
Added Comeau: “Our focus is to get better every day. If we want to get better every day you’ve got to play hard. We’ve got to do the things that you need to be successful in the playoff round.”
“We got outhustled a little bit,” said U.S. forward Garrett Thul. “Those (Canadian) guys are real experienced box lacrosse players. Most of us are mostly field specialists. We’ve got a lot to work on. There’s a lot of good that came out of that game. It will be an excellent tool for us moving forward. Me and all my teammates are very confident we’ll see them again.”
Outshooting Canada gives them hope.
“Their goalie played an incredible game. Vino is a fantastic goalie. Their defence did a great job of getting in our faces. The ones that were making it through, Vino was making great saves.”
By Neil Stevens for Team Canada Lacrosse. Photo by Larry Palumbo.