From Canadian men’s lacrosse team
Friday, May 27, 2011
CANADA’S DEFENCE FLEXES ITS MUSCLES IN 15-10 WIN OVER UNITED STATES
PRAGUE_ A strong effort by the defence corps helped Canada to the game for gold.
Head coach Ed Comeau, defence coach Paul Day and the rest of the staff had the D-men well prepared for their world indoor lacrosse championship semifinal and the result was a 15-10 win over the United States, setting up another showdown with the Iroquois Nationals for the big prize Saturday.
It wasn’t easy_ rarely is_ but Canada took control in the second half to break a 5-5 tie.
“We got into a bit of penalty trouble in the first half and it took us a little while to get into the flow of the game,’’ said defence-transition specialist Brodie Merrill. “The pace was quicker than what we expected.
“As Eddie has said all week: we stick to our principles and to our game plan, we’re an awfully tough team to beat. We feel like we’re the best team in the world. We needed to stay patient and allow that to come through.
“We feel pretty confident in that room. We respect the Iroquois team and our focus right now is preparing for that game.’’
Older brother Pat Merrill and the rest of the back-end crew kept the Americans to the perimeter for the most part. Few attackers were able to barge through to goalie Matt Vinc’s crease.
“We felt really prepared,’’ he said. “Paul Day, Eddie and the rest of the coaching staff did a really good job of getting us prepared.
“We watched a lot of game film and we were familiar with their guys from the NLL as well. They’re athletic and they can shoot the ball from the outside so we really couldn’t afford to give them much. But we’ve got a lot of depth on the defensive end so as the game went on our depth really showed. We were able to grit one out and give our offence a chance to get going.’’
Mike Carnegie was especially effective.
“We’re committed to winning,’’ he said. “There’s not a guy back there that’s selfish.
“Every guy knows his role. The job is simple: get the ball to the offence and let them do their work. It’s just a matter of everyone being on the same page, having the same goal, no one playing outside their role and no one being above the team.’’
Jeff Moleski, who capped the scoring with an empty-netter, seconded those thoughts.
“It was great to get the win,’’ he said. “Everyone knew it was going to be a battle.
“They came out to play and so did we. It was a great, fast-paced game and we came out on top.’’
Nobody got rattled when it was tough-and-go in the first half.
“We knew that if we stuck to our game plan the result would go our way,’’ said Moleski.
There were a lot of ice packs in the dressing room afterwards.
The 4,900-capacity arena was half full, and it was stinking hot.
“It was like playing summer ball back home,’’ said Sandy Chapman. “The temperature gets up pretty high during the games. It’s a little bit tough because we’re only playing with (the tournament roster limit of) 16 guys. Our conditioning definitely helped us.’’
Having two days off helped, he said.
Bill Greer was chewing on a peanut butter sandwich when asked for his summation.
“It was nice to have a real tough game like that,’’ he said. “They went on a bit of a run there but we were able to shut them down real nice.
“Five on five, they didn’t have a ton of looks. We played good team defence, which is what we’re priding ourselves on. It was a really good test. It’s going to be the same kind of thing in the final.’’
Rory Smith was shaken up when he was checked from behind into the boards in a corner by Sean Morris.
“My head hit the boards and my stick got me in the stomach,’’ he said. “I almost threw up about three times in the corner.’’
He’s fine now.
Kyle Rubisch, in his first world tournament, is showing why he garnered votes in NLL voting for rookie of the year.
“They pushed us early but we found our stride and started clicking,’’ he replied when asked for his view of the semi win. “The D was holding it up and the team found that next push and we got away from them in the second half.’’
There’s just one game to go_ the big one.
“Our goal from the very beginning was to win the gold medal so we’ll go out there (Saturday) and play our hardest and hopefully we’ll reach that goal,’’ said Rubisch.
If the D keeps playing as it has, and the goaltending continues to be so good, it should happen.
Team Canada media contact: Neil Stevens at email@example.com