SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The United States scrapped and clawed and willed its way back from a four-goal deficit.
Its defenders dug in against the devastating Thompson trio and its offense kept firing until the shots started falling. The result was a one-goal deficit with 15 minutes left to play.
But when the third quarter turned to the fourth, effort gave way to talent. A loaded Iroquois roster outscored the Americans 5-2 in the final frame to polish off a 13-9 win on the first night of the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships.
Lyle Thompson dodged in untouched from the left side. Jeff Shattler came off a screen on the right side and scored before USA goalie Jake Henhawk turned his head. Randy Staats buried a shot from 8 yards out angled left.
The Iroquois squelched any remaining American hope when Brandon Goodwin bounced a shot through the 5-hole on a breakaway with 5:07 to play, breaking the sold-out crowd at War Memorial Arena to their feet for a final time.
For the USA, a commendable comeback was for naught.
After a 6-2 start by the Iroquois, it appeared the United States was on the verge of being blown out.
But Joe Walters cranked home a sidewinder from about 12 yards out with 5:50 left in the second quarter. Then Marcus Holman found a cutting Blaze Riorden to make it 6-4 moments later.
Riorden, Albany’s starting goalie, is no stranger to shooting after taking a save the length of the field to score against Cornell this spring.
After the Iroquois tallied the final two goals of the half — the second coming on a buzzer-beating 15-yard shot from the point by Lyle Thompson — the USA won the third frame 3-0.
Holman found Joe Reseterits for his second goal at the end of the quarter to bring the USA within 8-7.
But that would be the USA’s final score before a pair of garbage-time tallies.
Shattler and Lyle Thompson finished with three goals each for the Iroquois.
The Iroquois return to action on Sunday when they take on Canada at 5 p.m. The USA faces the Czech Republic on Sunday at 1 p.m.
By Stephen Bailey for LaxMagazine.com. Photo by Larry Palumbo.