CANADA DEFEATS NETHERLANDS IN EXHIBITION GAME
MANCHESTER, England _ Faceoff specialist Geoff Snider was unbeatable, Zack Greer again wowed onlookers with his scoring exploits and Dan Dawson broke loose, too, as Canada won a second straight exhibition game at the world field lacrosse championships Wednesday.
Coach David Huntley’s side romped past The Netherlands after defeating Scotland the previous day. Scoring summaries were not kept for either game. The two lower-bracket countries were eager to get in a scrimmage against Canada because a tournament meeting is highly unlikely.
Canada plays its first round-robin game against Japan on Friday in the elite bracket.
Snider’s prowess at faceoffs helped Canada win the last world tournament, in 2006, when he won tournament MVP honours in London, Ont., and the rugged 29-year-old Calgarian looks as good as ever.
“I think he’s very comfortable right now,’’ said head coach David Huntley. “He’s been playing pretty well in the MLL (for Huntley’s Toronto Nationals) the last five or six weeks and he’s continuing that, and that’ll be vital here because there’s no shot clock.’’
Snider understands full well the importance of his job. Possession of the ball means everything.
“We’re treating it as a big part of the game,’’ he said. “It’s my role to go out there and get us the ball. Eighty-minute games are a lot different than 60-minute games so we’re trying our best to work out the kinks and get everybody on the same page.’’
Greer scored seven goals against the Dutch after firing in five against the Scots.
The 24-year-old native of Whitby, Ont., has been dynamite.
“Our offence is running well and it seems as if I’m coming up at the end of the plays,’’ he said. “I’m just trying to put the ball in the back of the net and my teammates are giving me good looks. We’re playing well as a team.’’
Huntley has plenty of offensive weapons though so won’t be relying on just one or two players to fill nets with balls.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who can score,’’ he said. “Zack’s the guy who’s been getting the ball and finishing. It’s good to see him in top form.’’
Dawson, 28, who also plays for Toronto’s MLL team, scored five goals Wednesday.
“It’s really starting to come together,’’ said the Brampton, Ont., firefighter. “It’s an honour to be associated with Team Canada and it’s nice to get to meet players from some countries we don’t get in our pool.
“This was a tuneup game and we’re starting to peak at the right time.’’
The defence corps should get pats on the back, too, for another job well done.
“The Netherlands has some skilled players and good athletes,’’ said defenceman Matt Vinc, 28, of St. Catharines, Ont. “We tried some new things we didn’t even try in practice earlier in the day and that’s why they scored a couple of goals. Nothing we’re too worried about.
“We’re just trying to get better each day before our first game on Friday. Every day we want to try to get better as a team. This was only our third day together. We’ve had a couple of great practices and we’re just trying to work out the kinks to find out which combinations work. We didn’t look too bad for having a couple of two-a-days the last couple of days.’’
John Grant Jr., who played one half against the Scots, didn’t participate in the scrimmage with the Dutch.
Chris Sanderson played the first quarter and Evan Kirk finished up. Sanderson had played three quarters on Tuesday.
Overall, Huntley was pleased with what he saw.
“We played a little bit better than we did yesterday and that’s all I’m asking the guys to do,’’ he said. “We’re moving the ball pretty well. I thought the Dutch side was really athletic.’’
Attacker Jordan Hall, 25, of Surrey, B.C., yet another Nationals MLL regular on Canada’s team, had a big game, too.
“It was really good scrimmaging against Holland,’’ he said. “They’re a really good team. Getting these games in is really important for us before we get to the main tourney.’’
Graham Bergsma of St. Catharines, who plays NCAA field lacrosse at Fairfield College in Connecticut, wears orange because of his Dutch heritage.
“Today’s game was an historic one and a step forward for Dutch lacrosse,’’ he said. “My teammates came out never having played a team of this extreme calibre and they held their own. They kept their heads. We got down a bit at the beginning but they gathered back together.
“It was great to see Team Canada working the kinks out. It was a great game for the sport. It was a great honour for me.
“I’ve seen them play and I’ve seen the USA play. Canada has all the talent in the world and if they bring it together then I feel they have a really good chance to win the tournament.’’
Neil Stevens, Team Canada media contact