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Canada vs Iroquois - THE Box Game WILC 2011 Photo Credit Larry Palumbo

Canada vs Iroquois – The Ultimate Box Lacrosse Matchup

When it comes to box lacrosse Canada vs Iroquois Nationals is THE Game! Here’s what you need to know about the battle of #1 vs #2 at WILC 2015 this month!

Whenever Canada and the Iroquois Nationals face-off in box lacrosse, it’s always a game unlike any other. While there will be a lot of great box lacrosse on display at the upcoming 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships, there’s no game more highly anticipated than the Canada versus Iroquois match up on September 20th at War Memorial Arena (Syracuse, NY). This contest promises to be as good as it gets!

Sunday night at the War Memorial is going to be an amazing game of lacrosse! It will be Cananda’s first game of the 2015 WILC and the Iroquois second (the Nationals beat the USA 13-9 on Friday night). If you’re in the area, you WANT to go to this game! So buy tickets today. There are still seats available, but that shouldn’t last long!

History of Canada vs Iroquois

Why is this game such a big deal? It doesn’t hurt that lacrosse is literally the national sport for both nations!

Lacrosse is the Iroquois’ game, and it always has been, ever since they received it from the Creator. But box lacrosse is also the national summer sport of Canada, and it has been since 1994. Well before that, in 1859, it was declared that lacrosse was the National Game of Canada. So the roots are extremely deep there as well!

Another historical factor that plays into this rivalry game is the fact that Canada and the Iroquois have finished 1st and 2nd in the WILC all three times the event has been held (2011, 2007, 2003)! Canada has always finished in first, and the Iroquois have always finished second. The US has also finished in the same place, 3rd, for the three previous World Indoor Lacrosse Championships.

In 2003, Canada easily walked away with the title, winning 21-4. 2007 was a very different story as the Iroquois almost won their first gold medal, but ended up falling to the Canadians 15-14 in OT. Now that was an EPIC game! Watch it for yourself…

In 2011 the games were held in Prague. This time Canada put some distance back between themselves and the Nationals, winning the gold medal game 13-6.

So, how will these two international powerhouses stack up in 2015?

WILC 2015 – Canada vs Iroquois – Sept. 20th

Canada and the Iroquois are both loaded with talent. Reliable  goaltending, solid draw work, toughness on D, team play… the list of similarities just goes on and on. Plus both teams are loaded up with offensive talent. At times, these lineups are downright scary!

Canada’s offense is big, athletic and tough. Adam Jones, Dan Dawson, Curtis Dickson, Mark Matthews, and Dhane Smith are all huge threats. Dickson’s ability to create off quick dodges and dives is unreal at times. Ryan Benesch, Shawn Evans, and Stephan LeBlanc all add a great scoring punch, and Evans’ pinball approach to dodging opens up the inside for others. Zack Greer shores up the left side really nicely, and Jordan MacIntosh can do more than just dominate draws…he’s also a big time points guy!

When you look at the Canadian D, and their goaltending, there are some real monsters masquerading as human beings. Some of these guys are gigantic! But they are also pure lacrosse players, and guys like Brodie Merrill and Steve Priolo really demonstrate that fact. There is good diversity on defense, and the various skill sets of the players will help with match ups and bode well for covering zones. There’s also leadership out there, and plenty of guys with a team-first mentality. Add in three strong goalies, and this group looks fantastic.

The Iroquois also have three solid goalies, and two of them have plenty of international playing experience. In front of these steady keepers, the Iroquois have an athletic group of defenders. While they don’t tower above their opponents quite as much as the Canadian D guys, I do like their potential in transition a little more as their speed and stick work is of the highest caliber – perfect for FIL rules and this style of tournament.

On offense, the Iroquois have slick sticks and a group of shooters who can really put the ball away with precision and velocity. The big question seems to be where and how the Thompsons fit in with an internationally experienced bunch.  But I’m not too worried about their ability to produce points, to be honest. They’ve been doing it all Summer, and have played MLL ball, which is as rough as FIL WILC (with a lot less padding). Lyle and Miles should force the inside, and if that opens up the outside for guys like Roger Vyse, Craig Point, and Brett Bucktooth (amongst others), the Nationals could become a scoring machine. Plus don’t forget about Johnny Powless. Don’t ever forget about him!

Home Field Advantage

The Iroquois have a long history of box lacrosse, and an even longer history with the game. So it’s somewhat surprising that they have never hosted a FIL World Championship event at any level until now. If the Nationals need any extra motivation this time around, playing on home soil should do it.

The Canadian fans will come out in force, I am sure of that. However, the majority of the arena will likely be full of fans who are pro-Iroquois, and since lacrosse is a spiritual game, this is going to have an impact. Maybe you don’t believe me, but right now there is an undeniable  buzz of excitement for the Nationals that has not existed in the past. If there is a year, this is as good as any! Yes, the pressure is on, but this team seems to welcome it.

How To Watch

Canada and the Iroquois Nationals will meet for first time at WILC 2015 on Sunday, September 20th at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, NY. While the game may be broadcast via tape delay on Universal Sports Network, details are still to be determined. The best way to see this one is to check it out LIVE.

That’s right! Make your way to Onondaga and watch this game in person. Buy your tickets now before they’re gone and start planning your trip. September 2oth is sure to be a day of box lacrosse you’ll never forget!

If you’re banking on the same final as the previous WILC events, you may be in luck but there are no guarantees. We all know Team USA is looking mean! Pick up tickets to the Gold Medal and Bronze Medal Games in Syracuse’s historic Carrier Dome on September 27th, and you’ll likely get to see all three teams compete. When you purchase tickets, use code “GROWTHEGAME” for great seats and a FREE WILC Official Tee!

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