The much anticipated match up between Team USA and Team Canada for the 2014 World Championships had people on the edge of their seat. With the number of MLL players on the field this should be a high flying fast paced game with the winner out hustling the loser, right? The Championship game was anything but fast paced, in fact, it wasn't medium paced it was down right slow. Team Canada employed a slow down strategy that seemed to confuse the Team USA players and coaches with Canada playing a possession game content to chop large chunks of time of the clock.
The game opened up with the battle evryone expected at the X between Geoff Snider for Canada and Chris Eck / Greg Gurenlian from Team USA - What else would you expect from the three best? A tie each team went 7/14 at the X. In the first quarter the two teams combined to take 19 shots but only two made it through the pipes and both were from Canada's Kevin Crowley giving the Canadians a 2-0 lead going into the quarter two. With only 9 shots combined in the second quarter the two teams traded goals Kevin Crowley registered a hat trick with his third of the game and Kevin Leveille put the US on the board.
The game was far from the high flying offensive shoot out many of us were expecting with a Halftime score of 3-1. In the first half Team Canada dominated the United States in the ground ball category 18 to 8 which would prove to be the edge for Canada in this game.
The third opened up with a goal from Kevin Levielle to draw the US team with in one goal, 3-2. Then about four minutes later Team Canada exploded with four unanswered goals to extend their lead to 5 goals , 7-2 at the end of the third. Shots for the third were about equal but Dillon Ward had 4 of his 10 saves to keep Team USA frustrated.
Entering the fourth quarter Mark Matthews of Canada netted a goal to give the Canadians a six goal lead with just over 18 minutes to play. The slow play of Canada was causing the US obvious frustration as they watched the time click away as Canada burned minute after minute off the clock - with about 11 minutes left in the game Kevin Buchanan found Rob Pannell open for a goal cutting the lead to five, 8-3 Canada. Canada went back to their slow play game plan but turnovers would begin to plague them as the USA scored a nice transitional goal by Jesse Bernhardt assisted by Rob Pannell, lead now four with 8 minutes to play. A pass from Brendan Mundorf would set Kevin Levielle up for a hat trick with 6:24 left in the game, the lead now cut to three. Could it happen a USA comeback? The answer was no! Even though Canada had 12 turnovers and the US out shot Canada 12 to 4 in the fourth they were only able to net three goals.
The final score was Canada 8 and USA 5. Team Canada would stun a USA team that had dominated throughout the week.
The ALL - World Team was headlined by Dillon Ward who was also named the best goalie and MVP of the tourney.
The complete All-World team:
Curtis Dickson, Canada Rob Pannell, United States Lyle Thompson, Iroquois Nationals
Midfield David Lawson, United States Paul Rabil, United States Jeremy Thompson, Iroquois Nationals
Defense Tucker Durkin, United States Brodie Merrill, Canada Kyle Rubisch, Canada
Goalie Dillon Ward, Canada
Outstanding Attackman: Rob Pannell, United States Outstanding Midfielder: Paul Rabil, United States Outstanding Defenseman: Tucker Durkin, United States Outstanding Goalie: Dillon Ward, Canada