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WILC Game Recaps: Saturday at Onondaga Arena

Saturday, September 19th saw three great games take place at the Onondaga Arena.  Finland and Switzerland got the action started, followed by Turkey and Australia, then the Blue division matchup of England and the Czech republic.

Finland vs. Switzerland

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While the final score of 18-5 in favor of Finland suggested a total rout, the Swiss team really did put up a good fight.  Finland showed that were a very versatile team.  Their first seven goals were scored by seven different players, although Jarno Aaltonen  assisted on the first four.  Roope Jokela  was the leading scorer, recording four goals to go with his three assists.  Aaltonen would actually finish (Finnish?) with seven points himself, with two goals and five assists.

The Swiss never gave up though.  They were down 17-2 with just under five minutes left in the game and they still managed three additional goals. Martin Beer would be the leading scorer with two goals.  This game was also very physical the entire way through, capped off with a bit of a skirmish at the end.  Fighting is not tolerated in the games, but it was clear that both teams were not happy with each other as two players from each side were sent off with double minors with just 10 minutes left.

The Swiss will play Australia next, which will be a tough matchup.  The Swiss are still new to the box game and Australia really possesses some great athletes and sticks skills that are going to be tough to go up against.  Finland will see Turkey next, which should actually turn into a very competitive game.

Turkey vs. Australia

turkey-aus

This was a very high scoring affair, with Australia coming out on top, 21-17.  Both teams were not afraid to get the ball flying, but Australia fired off a blistering 69 shots.  It’s not just that they shot that much, but their quarter by quarter shot count never deviated by more than two (16, 18, 17, 18).  The game started out all Australia, who went up 6-0 in the first four minutes.  They kept that cushion for most of the game, but Turkey really showed great tenacity and fought their way back in it.

The name that constantly came up for the Turks was Anthony Terranova who wound up finishing with eight goals and three assists.  There was also a bit of a scare as he went down with what appeared to be a leg injury late in the game, but he was back on the floor in no time.  You never want to see injuries, but especially not this early in the tournament.

The Aussies were paced by Matthew Taylor’s six goals and three assists.  Jesse Whinnen and Caleb Hall were also very productive on the day.  This game also featured a load of penalties on both sides.  This is what really hurt Turkey’s ability to fight back more than they did.  Turkey finished with 49 minutes of penalties, and most were due to overly physical play.  This is one area that they will absolutely need to clean up if they want to see better results on the scoreboard by the end of the tournament.  Australia was not just sitting idly by either, recording 21 minutes themselves including a high sticking major.

England vs. Czech Republic

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The Blue Division night cap, this game was close throughout.  In what was a battle of premier goalies (Nick Rose of the Toronto Rock and Mike Poulin of the Calgary Roughnecks), this game saw ties of 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, and 7-7.   England was the leader after four of those, while the Czechs led after four as well.  Most importantly, the Czechs scored the last two goals of the game to win 9-7.

While there were several penalties called in this game (seven roughing calls alone), it never was out of hand or overshadowed the lacrosse being played.  Both teams were physical and played fast.  With the keepers they had, both teams were more than happy to send their runners off on a fast break if they could.

In what was one of the best plays of the game, the Czechs had the ball with six seconds left in the first half coming out of a time out.  Jiří Košťál caught Dominik Pešek  cutting behind the net and Pešek dove from the back of the crease to bury it with 2.5 seconds remaining to bring the 5-5 tie into halftime.

https://vine.co/v/ePBM26rV2M0

It was Pešek again who score the game winner with just under four minutes left in the game.  Radek Skála also chipped in another with under a minute left to seal the victory.  The Czechs do not have long to celebrate though as their next game is against the US squad who spend the game comfortably scouting behind the Czech bench.  That had to be an interesting dynamic for the players as they for focusing on the tough game at hand with the next opponent literally looming over your shoulders. England gets a day off before they begin their three day stretch of the US, then the Iroquois, followed by Canada on Wednesday.