Israel and Ireland faced off on Sunday in the brand new village pavilion with Israel prevailing 12-6. Israel used balanced scoring and tough defense to wear down the Irish, who kept the game close for most of it, but wore down over time.
The first half was started by the two teams trading goals. Israel struck first off a Noah Miller score, assisted by Chad Culp. Culp would get one of his own about eight minutes later. Between those two, Ireland would score twice in 37 seconds during the fifth minute. Stephen Keogh and Zach Pall would both score for Ireland and Israel respectively before the quarter ended in a 3-3 tie. Israel jumped ahead in the second, scoring the next three goals before Brian Gillis from Ireland would answer back.
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By the second half, Israel would assert their dominance. They controlled the tempo and the ball for the majority of the half, and used their shots well. Mixing up both outside shots and being right on the crease, their shooters showed incredible accuracy, picking corners on some really difficult shots. Defensively, they held Ireland to lots of long possessions that never resulted in a shot.
Neither team was overly physical, but there weren’t many clean looks being given, either. Ireland did still do a good job taking advantage of their opportunities when they presented themselves, such as scoring on a great outside shot from top center on a power play.
The most important storyline of this game is that Israel captured the top seed in the Green division. This puts them in the best spot as they hope to win their way into the medal rounds or try to secure a spot in the blue division in the next world games.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because they did just that in last year’s outdoor games.