Team USA Dominates Japan, Improves to 3-0
Photo Gallery: USA 21, Japan 3
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - A dominant showing saw the United States improve to 3-0 in pool play at the FIL World Championship, scoring the game’s first 12 goals and rolling to a 21-3 victory over Japan (0-3).
Rob Pannell had a goal and five assists in the victory to anchor the offensive effort, while Chris Eck and Greg Gurenlian were near-perfect on draws, going a combined 23-for-26. Jesse Schwartzman earned the win in net, making four saves and allowing just the one goal, making way for Drew Adams after being hit by a shot in the third quarter. Adams made six saves and allowed two.
"We talked about how we played [against Australia] and how we felt like we got real sloppy," United States coach Richie Meade said. "We thought we did a good job in the beginning to play hard, get the lead, and then stayed methodical."
Japan got its goals from Yuji Tadahira, Ryu Matsushita and Wataru Tsugu. Tadahira scored the first late in the second quarter, and Matsushita and Tsugu adding theirs in the fourth quarter as the game wound down. Team USA had scored 21 of the first 22 goals, but Japan closed the game with the final two.
Joining Pannell in the scoring bonanza for the United States were Ned Crotty, who had a game-high four goals and an assist. Brendan Mundorf (3G, 2A), Garrett Thul and Kevin Leveille each had hat-tricks. All told, 11 players had at least a point for Team USA.
In addition to Schwartzman, who bruised his thumb on the play, defensive midfielder Dan Burns departed the game early with a tweaked groin, having also left the Australia contest before the final whistle. Fellow midfielder Kyle Harrison did not play in the contest due to a charlie horse suffered against the Sharks. Leveille had also been banged up, sitting out the game against Australia after banging his knee against Canada.
"Everybody's banged up," Meade said. "We're a very physically fit team, so if we're banged up, all the other teams are too. We just have to deal with it like everybody else does and get ready for tomorrow."
The United States continues group play on Monday afternoon against England, with its finale of the opening rounds Tuesday against the Iroquois Nationals. Japan next faces Canada on Monday afternoon before closing group play against England.
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