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Possessions, Ball Movement Key to Canada Win over England, 12-6

A few weeks ago, it was unclear who would represent Team Canada in Israel. After the announcement that the original roster would be making the trip, some wondered if the drawn out controversy would affect the team’s play.

Friday night it did not.

The reigning gold medalists took care of business against England from the opening whistle, cruising to a 12-6 victory on ESPN Field.

While one game a repeat championship does not make, getting one out of the way is a nice first step.

“It’s been a process,” said Canada head coach Randy Mearns about the last few months. “We’re excited to get this win out of the way.”

Eight of Canada’s 12 goals were assisted, and the team’s ability to move the ball and probe from all angles opened up the field for the North Americans.

“Everybody’s got to eat, so to speak,” Mearns said. “It’s great when you have a lot of guys sharing the ball.”

Attackman Mark Matthews led the way in assists, dishing four dimes to cap off another positive night for the Canadian star.

“We’re more of a one-more team than probably most countries,” Matthews explained. “We like to finish the ball in front of the net and take the best shot possible. When that’s the case, you’re due to get assists.”

To share the ball, you have to have the ball, and if Canada had it, England didn’t. England head coach Tom Wenham said the lack of possession and turnovers were too great to overcome.

“We just didn’t see enough of the ball, and when we did, we weren’t making the best decisions with it,” he said. “We found out today that mistakes get punished, and if you turn the ball over on the offensive end, the ball comes down very quickly.”

Although there were some things Mearns and Matthews said they would like for Canada to clean up for Saturday’s game against Scotland, grinding out a victory is all that matters.

“The great part about it is we’ve got that great ol’ Canadian girt and heart, kept after it and got the W,” Mearns said.

Canada will feature again tomorrow at 6 p.m. versus the Scots on ESPN Field, and England will get back at it Saturday at 6:45 p.m. against the Iroquois Nationals on Epoch Field.