September 20, 2015
Teammates congratulate Garrett Thul after one of his three goals Sunday in Team USA's 14-7 win over the Czech Republic in the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. (Coyote Magic Action Shots)
Teammates congratulate Garrett Thul after one of his three goals Sunday in Team USA's 14-7 win over the Czech Republic in the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. (Coyote Magic Action Shots)

U.S. Takes Step in Right Direction with WILC Win

by Neil Stevens | | Twitter


Live Blog #LMLive: U.S. vs. Czech Republic (WILC)

ONONDAGA, N.Y. —  Team USA got a much-needed boost of confidence in defeating the Czech Republic 14-7 Sunday afternoon, dispelling the disappointment of losing its Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Indoor Lacrosse Championship opener to the Iroquois Nationals on Friday night.

"We've been saying all along we want to be a game better each time out," U.S. coach Tony Resch said. "We were pretty consistent at both ends of the floor. It was a good step forward for us."

It was 6-3 after one quarter, 12-4 after two and 13-4 after three.

Kevin Buchanan, Garrett Thul and Marcus Holman scored three goals each and Don Moss, Chris O'Dougherty, Jeff Ratcliffe, Joel White and Joe Walters chipped in with one each. Walters added five assists.

"Offensively, we got some great chances and we did reasonably well defensively," Resch said. "We were a little lax in the fourth quarter, but sometimes games like this can tend to trend that way."

CJ Costabile, who won most of the faceoffs, was ejected in the fourth quarter after a scrum behind the Czech crease capped a chippy final quarter full of hacking and slashing. A further suspension is unlikely.

"We did a very good job of keeping our composure," Resch said. "To have our guy tossed for some of the things that went on late in the game, I disagree with that. There was no fighting involved, so we're certainly hoping he'll be back."

The positive Resch's ranks took out of the loss to the Iroquois was that they outscored them 3-0 in the third quarter.

"We tried today to build off our third period the other night," defenseman Brian Megill said. "We let that game slip away from us. We feel that we can play with anybody in the world. Today we showed we could put points on the board. We're trying to get chemistry together as we go through the tournament."

Thul, as usual, was a constant threat around the crease.

"We had a rough start, obviously, against the Iroquois, but we had a lot of good things going for us today," he said. "We showed we can put points on the board and our defense played great last game and played great again. It was good to get our feeling back again on offense."

Walters did a great job quarterbacking the offense.

"We took a step in the right direction," he said. "Every game we play, every practice we have, we're trying to get that much better. It's not a sprint. It's a long 10 days. We're just trying to pace ourselves and keep improving. We took a step in the right direction today."

Resch was asked which area of his team's play most needs improvement, but he wasn't about to single out the offense or defense.

"All of them," he said.

Starting goalie Jake Henhawk was relieved midway through the third by David Mather, who also had a highlight-reel save Friday on a Lyle Thompson penalty shot.

"He's really been coming along," Resch said. "He's a young guy, so anytime we can get him in a game situation, that is going to be growth for him. Jake Henhawk has done a great job thus far, but it's always good to have two guys who are comfortable in seeing the ball."

Czech player Miro Polach was taken to hospital with an eye injury after a ball somehow got up under the grid of his face mask helmet late in the first half.

Scoring for the Czech Republic were Radek Skala, with two, Dom Pesek, Jiri Loskof, Jiri Kostal, Jan Skokan and Chet Koneczny. Mike Poulin of the NLL's Calgary Roughnecks was in the Czech nets for the first three quarters.

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