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Canada Iroquois Nationals Jeff Melnik

WILC Recap: Canada 11, Iroquois Nationals 9

In a battle between the best two box lacrosse teams in the world, Canada downed the Iroquois Nationals in the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, NY, 11-9.

The stadium seats were filled. Everyone was there to watch the Iroquois attempt to best the undefeated Canada team, undefeated since the birth of the WILC. The game featured an electric intensity, unmatched stick work, speed, and physicality which fed the crowd in thrilling excitement.

First Quarter

Iroquois’ Tyler Garrison took a first faceoff against Canada’s Jordan MacIntosh who had an easy win and flipped it back to Shawn Evans, starting the first possession of the game. He started with some style, but his behind the back sailed over the crease and created a fast break going the other way. Tyler Garrison ran up the field passing to a cutting Haina Thompson who was able to catch on the right side of the crease sweep and score against the left post, notching the first goal of the game, 1-0 Iroquois! Over the next five minutes, both keepers had an incredible showing and coming up with incredible saves shot after shot.

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WILC Recap: Canada 11, Iroquois Nationals 9 Jeff Melnik

The first Canadian goal of the game came after Mark Mathews passed to a fired up Evans who scored a low bounce to the far side post, tieing game 1-1. The tie was short-lived as Miles Thompson would make a statement right back when Tom Montour sacrificed his body to make an epic feed, putting the Iroquois in the lead, 2-1. Great possessions would happen for both teams who made big plays up and down the floor. Matthews with the help of Evans would bring Canada within 2 points in the final minute of the quarter, score 5-3 Iroquois.

Second Quarter

Dickson and Bucktooth started off the second quarter with offset roughing penalties to kicking off a series of fouls. There were no goals in the first 10 minutes but a great series of play making kept the wild crowd enthralled in the action.

WILC Recap: Canada 11, Iroquois Nationals 9 Jeff Melnik

On a loose ball Myles Thompson made a very smart play knocking the ball up off the glass and catching the rebound in open space, igniting applause from nearly everyone in the stadium. Johnny Powless would break the scoreless quarter who quick-sticked a feed to the top by Craig Point extending the Iroquois lead 6-3.

Third Quarter

Related to the rest of the action quarter 3 was a bit stable with some back and forth possessions to start with the first point coming in by Matthews who made a quick rebound play off a shot by Ryan Benesch, bringing Canada a bit closer, 6-4.

WILC Recap: Canada 11, Iroquois Nationals 9 Jeff Melnik

However, the Iroquois weren’t deterred and they rattled off two more goals about a minute apart from each other, bringing the score to 8-4 with five minutes left in the half. The last 5 minutes of the third quarter would set off a Canadian firestorm and Matthews would come up big pulling the score within 2 points again, 8-6 Iroquois. Curtis Dickson would find one more for Canada bringing the team within 1 point at the end of the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

If Canada planned to win this game, they would have to win the fourth quarter and that is what they intended to do. The crowd was on the edge of their seat, anxious to know if the Canadian momentum from the third would carry over to the fourth quarter.

Miles Thompson planted a seed of doubt in the first 2 minutes of the quarter. But that doubt was quickly dashed and in an epic display of speed and physicality, Canadian Christopher Corbeil would score unassisted not 10 seconds later, 9-8 Iroquois. Building off that play, a minute later Matthews tied the game for Canada and everyone in the stadium became enthralled.

WILC Recap: Canada 11, Iroquois Nationals 9 Jeff Melnik

Was the Iroquois team going to deliver Canada’s first defeat? They might have but Iroquois’ Jeff Shattler would score a disallowed goal due to an illegal substitution and they would not take the lead again in the game.

The final 10 minutes of the game was a breathtaking display athleticism and competition, capturing the spirit of the game. Dan Dawson and Jordan MacIntosh would score assisted goals to extend Canada’s lead by 2.

Canada won the game 11-9 in one of the most thrilling and epic displays at the tournament.

Photo Credit: Jeff Melnik

Contributor Ryan Conwell also served as co-author to this recap.

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