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July 17, 2014
Canada rallied from an early deficit to rout the Iroquois Nationals and advance to Saturday's FIL World Championship finals against the United States. (Scott McCall)
Canada rallied from an early deficit to rout the Iroquois Nationals and advance to Saturday's FIL World Championship finals against the United States. (Scott McCall)

Canada Runs Away from Iroquois Late; Into FIL Final

by Sean Burns | | Twitter | World Lacrosse 2014

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Down 4-1 after the first quarter, Canada scored eight straight goals and shut the Iroquois Nationals out over a span of nearly 47 minutes, building a 9-5 lead and burning out the remaining time to take a 12-6 win and advance to the FIL World Championship gold medal game against the United States. 

Curtis Dickson, who scored the game-winning goal in the team's thrilling 9-8 pool play tilt, came up big again with four goals in the contest to lead Canada. Jeremy Noble had two helpers in the game, but it was a team effort in the win as Canada had nine players score goals, keeping the Iroquois on their heels. 

Despite dominating possession in the second quarter, the Iroquois still held a 4-3 lead at half, hoping to make a run at their first ever FIL final. But Canada made some adjustments and scored five unanswered goals that period, including three from Dickson.

Canada 12, Iroquois 6: Gallery | Recap
Dillon Roy and the Canada defense shone in its mission to slow down the powerful Iroquois offense, pitching a shutout over a huge portion of the middle of the game after the Nationals went up 4-1 early. (Scott McCall)

"Against a goalie like Warren [Hill], he’s going to eat everything up from the outside," Dickson said. "We got some higher-percentage shots in the second half and went on a run."

With the support of more or less all of the neutral fans in a crowd that numbered over 7,000, the Iroquois attempted to rally late but found the tank empty after playing five Blue Division games in five days, then finding a tough quarterfinal opponent in Scotland on Wednesday while the Canadians had a rest day for finishing group play in second place.

Lyle Thompson had two goals and an assist and Randy Staats added two more, but the Iroquois just couldn't keep up the pace after the early flurry that had fans wondering if we would see them against the United States in the final.

"We ran out of gas. The brutalness of the schedule favored them a little bit," said Iroquois head coach Steve Beville, who got another big performance out of Hill in net with seven saves, including some key ones earlier that stalled the Canada run from really taking hold until after halftime.

"You could see we wore down in the second half today, but our guys played with a ton of heart. Canada did what they had to do offensively, to put us in a bad position. When they reached nine, we thought we really had to come out and double."

Credit the Canada defense for slowing down the Nationals attack unit, as they shifted matchups depending on the situation, covering Lyle Thompson with primarily Brodie Merrill or Dillon Roy and holding Miles Thompson to one goal and Cody Jamieson off the board. Goalkeeper Dillon Ward also played well, making eight saves while Geoff Snider dominated at the face-off with a 16-for-21 night and a fast-break goal off the second quarter's opening draw that kick-started the eight-goal run.

Canada, tournament champion in 1978 and again in 2006, fell 10-7 against the United States in the tournament opener. Both teams have a day off on Friday and will square off at 7 p.m. for the gold, as they have in every tournament since 1998 in Baltimore, Maryland. The United States holds a 3-1 advantage in the finals in that span and an overall 16-3 record in world tournament play against their neighbors to the north. But in each of the last two tournaments, the team that lost in pool play came back and won the gold medal game rematch. 

The Iroquois will face Australia in the bronze medal game with a chance to finish in the tournament's top three for the first time ever. That game is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday.

In-Game Blog Replay

Live Blog Canada vs. Iroquois Nationals - FIL World Championship Semifinals

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