As we start to wind down the 2019 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships, it has been an interesting experience, as in many world championships, not only watching the top teams play, but the bottom teams as well. I won’t be attending Day 9 as the only games are the 15th to 20th place games, and its time to take a day off and explore the city a bit. Here’s the good, bad and the ugly.
Starting off the day, let’s talk about the American defense. They truly kept their team in the game in a 9-7 loss to the Iroquois, both by eliminating shots and pressuring the Iroquois into bad shots at times. They gave their team a chance to win. It didn’t work out in the end, but the Americans aren’t too far away from moving up the chain to a silver medal in the future.
Secondly, Team Canada as a whole. Now it’s tough to truly assess the team playing a weaker opponent in England, but the offense was in fine form and so was the defense, causing numerous turnovers and only allowing 16 shots. In the second quarter, they outshot England 22-2, and the second English shot that was awarded was very generous. Canada will come onto this final as heavy favorites.
Kyle Rubisch scored again, so my tab at Aroma after a few Rush games this upcoming season just got a little bigger.
Cody Jamieson was playing with a huge fire in his belly on Thursday night. He has had it all week here, but he was in hyper-drive against the Americans. There was one goal in particular where he fended off three Americans, worked his way into the middle and buried it on his off-hand side. It was fantastic. There was a question posed on the broadcast about who had the hardest shot of all time. That is debatable, but the one thing that I don’t believe is in doubt, is that Jamieson has the nastiest shot of all time, and the hardest to save.
The other good thing is the food out here in the Vancouver area. I’m a huge fan on Indian food (as in India the country) and they have amazing restaurants out here. Also, the fresh seafood is a treat, especially if you’re from Saskatchewan.
Let’s start off with the American offense. I just don’t get the strategy they employed here. It was rare to see anyone breaking through the middle, almost like they were afraid at times. They were content to play five guys to the outside and shoot. One thing that was really confusing to me was that on delayed penalty situations, they kept six guys to the outside, no cutters through the middle, and would shoot from 35 feet out with 10 seconds still on the shot clock. Simple rule, if you live by the long shot, you will surely die by the long shot.
The only times the Americans typically went inside was when someone had completely beaten their man. This is where once again I had to shake my head a few times. Those that have read me for a long time know my frustrations with Jeremy Thompson and that he is a defensive liability for the Rush. Watching him get beat 1-on-1 when he’s clearly the faster player in this semifinal is mind boggling. I’m hoping the Rush go back to him being a FOGO this upcoming season.
The bad also goes to the injury bug which hit the Iroquois once again. Miles Thompson twisted his ankle in the second quarter. It’s not serious, but I saw him after the game coming out of the arena with no shoe and a bag of ice. He was worried what it would feel like once the adrenaline wore off. He’ll be good to go for Saturday, but not at 100%, and once again we won’t get to see best-on-best at their best. As for Lyle Thompson, the word is that his injury is a high ankle sprain, which is typically an 8-week recovery period, but for Lyle, its probably an 8-day recovery period. In speaking with a few of the Canadian players last night, they’re assuming he’s playing until they don’t see him out there for the warm-up.
Finally, there were the coaching decisions made by the Americans late in the game. They had the ball with over a minute to go, down two and they don’t pull Abrams. They get a reset and still don’t pull him. By the time they did pull him with just over 30 seconds to go, it was far too late.
The margin of victory for Canada, 21-4, over England, goes to show the disparity that remains amongst the top nations. I was surprised how many fans in the building started freaking out when England took an early 2-0 lead. They didn’t have to stay nervous for long as Canada scored six goals in the next seven minutes. I wonder if those complaining about the running time which started late in the third quarter still complained, thinking England could come back.
Secondly was the play of Randy Staats, who might have had the worst game I’ve seen him play in the semifinal. He was completely off of his mark. One shot in particular that stood out was when Staats received a pass in the middle, nobody on him, and fired it 6 inches over the bar from 10 feet out. You don’t expect that from him. I’m not worried though. Every player has an off night. His team survived the scare and he lives to show the world what he can do against the Canadians.
The final item was an interesting comment that I received from a player I trust playing in the lower divisions. He was talking with one of the referees and the referee told the player that this was the first tournament that he ever refereed for box lacrosse. He was strictly a field lacrosse referee before he landed in Canada a week ago. If this is true, it’s disturbing. There are spots in the play-in games on the line, and the game is being potentially decided by a guy that has never refereed box lacrosse. When players pay that kind of money to play in the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships, they deserve a lot better than that. There has to be and must be a minimum standard to which World Lacrosse needs to adhere.
The placement games are all now set at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship and every team has just one game remaining from here on out. Here is the full schedule if you are interested in watching (times listed are Pacific times):
2019 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship Remaining Schedule
19th Place Game – Mexico vs Costa Rica – 10:30am
17th Place Game – Switzerland vs Hong Kong – 1:30pm
15th Place Game – Sweden vs Scotland – 4:30pm
13th Place Game – Austria vs Slovakia – 10:30am
11th Place Game – Serbia vs Ireland – 1:30pm
9th Place Game – Australia vs Germany – 4:30pm
7th Place Game – Netherlands vs Czech Republic – 10:00am
5th Place Game – Israel vs Finland – 1:00pm
Bronze Medal Game – USA vs England – 5:00pm
Gold Medal Game – Canada vs Iroquois – 8:00pm