By Sean Burns | @burnsiah | FIL Scores/Box Scores
Commerce City, Colo. -- Five goals from Kevin Crowley and a ball-control game plan that kept the dangerous United States team with the ball out of its stick for extended periods of the game led Canada to its third world championship gold medal with an 8-5 victory over Team USA in front of over 11,000 fans in the FIL World Championship, presented by Trusted Choice, at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Canada dominated the ground game - scooping 35 compared to 22 for the United States, allowing the team to run extensive time off the clock after building leads of 3-1 at the half and 7-2 after three quarters. Team USA, which had not lost in the tournament and defeated Canada 10-7 on the opening night July 10th, scored three late goals as it tried to mount a comeback, but it was too little, too late.
“The defense makes a couple great stands and Dillon Ward makes a couple great saves," said Canada head coach Randy Mearns of the late stops that finished out the victory. "We were able to clear the ball and milk the clock. It was incredible. I’m so proud and happy for our guys. They put a lot of work into this, and any time that you can end up on top, it’s a special moment.”
Canada, which also won titles in 1978 and 2006, made it three straight tournaments where the loser of the pool play game between the two powerhouses of the international game lost in the finals.
Team USA's early game was marred by poor shooting, as they took nine in the first quarter but only forced Canada goalie and tournament MVP Dillon Ward to make three saves. He didn't have to make any in the second quarter, as Team USA only managed two shots but did score on one. He finished with ten on the day.
Kevin Leveille scored three goals for Team USA, bookending its day with its first two goals, then the final as time wound down. Rob Pannell, named Outstanding Attackman, had a goal and three assists.Jordan Hall had a pair of assists for Canada and Cam Holding had another goal and assist as they kept the United States from winning its record 10th world championship.
"They played the game the way they wanted to play it and kind of got us into that game because they got the lead," United States coach Richie Meade said. "They spread us out and they were very methodical. They got the ball up off the ground and got it in the goal. Their goalie was outstanding. You have to give those kids credit.”
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