Helped by Fling and a Prayer, Canada Edges U.S. U19ers in OT
BRADENTON, Fla. – Johns Hopkins freshman Drew Supinski had just been the hero. His right-handed shot from 13 yards, in the center of the field at IMG Academy, gave the U.S. under-19 men's national team a one-goal lead over Canada with six seconds left in regulation.
Then came the fling and the prayer.
Canada faceoff man Justin Inacio won the ensuing draw and tossed a Hail Mary pass with the back of his stick in the direction of U.S. goalie Phil Goss. One of the three Canadian attackmen in front of him, Ryan Lanchbury, plucked it from the sky, turned and tossed it left-handed just before time ran out.
"That was crazy," Supinski said. "It was a good faceoff win and awesome pass to the attackman."
The miracle play capped Canada's 5-1 fourth-quarter run to force overtime, where it prevailed 14-13 after the mandatory two, four-minute extra periods, per international rules. Lanchbury, a Richmond commit, also scored what held up as the winning goal 49 seconds into the second OT.
Alex Roesner (Penn), who scored for the U.S. to make it 14-13, hit the crossbar in the final 20 seconds at the end of OT and Canada ran out the clock.
"We all are disappointed with the way things finished at the end," Team USA head coach Nick Myers said. "Where we need the most work is between the boxes, the clearing game, and situationally. That's going to be at the top of the list the next time we get together."
Timmy Kelly (North Carolina) and Mac O'Keefe (Penn State commit) led the U.S. with three goals each while Supinski finished with two goals and two assists. Team USA went ahead 10-6 with 13:52 left in the fourth on a Terry Lindsay goal, assisted by Kelly.
Then Lanchbury scored his first of three goals and crunch time was on despite both teams heading into the exhibition mainly looking to evaluate players as they determine their final 23-man rosters for this summer's Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship in British Columbia.
The U.S. entered the weekend with 30 on its roster and Canada had 37.
"Heckuva game, that's for sure. The competitiveness comes out in everyone," Canada coach Taylor Wray said. "We stuck with what we were doing, we stuck with the plan, playing different people and that sort of thing, but no better way to evaluate talent than in that type of pressure and situation. Our job just got a lot harder. You hope that some guys start to separate. If anything, guys started to lump themselves more together than ever. It's going to be a challenge to get to 23."
"These are two teams punching back and forth at each other. In the extra period, you saw more of the same. Unfortunately, we ran out of time."
-- U.S. U19 head coach Nick Myers
Myers scripted each quarter on Sunday, with different groups of attack, offensive and defensive midfielders, long-stick midfielders and defense. Three goalies played (Willie Klan got the start) as did three faceoff men. Canada, similarly, cycled through different rotations.
"We played a lot of guys, and they did too," Myers said. "As much as we're playing to win, we're evaluating. To me, this is the tough part of the process. It's going to be evaluating film, meeting with the staff and having to make some challenging decisions. But I'm really grateful for the 30 men and the effort that they gave us."
Jeff Teat, who scored eight goals for The Hill Academy (Ontario) against the U.S. in a scrimmage in November, only scored once and didn't play for long stretches. But his lone score came at a crucial moment, to give Canada a 13-12 lead with nine seconds left in the first OT period. He dove adjacent to the crease for the lefty score.
"We drew something up and it worked out the way we wanted it to," Wray said. "Teater was supposed to finish. He wasn't really open but he hitched and shook his guy and made an incredible play."
Inacio, an Ohio State commit, went 10 for 20 on faceoffs but won crucial draws later, none more important than the one at the end of the fourth quarter. Wray said that play was ad-lib. "I don't even know what happened," said Wray, also the coach at Saint Joseph's and the coach of the Canadian U19 team in 2012. "We chucked it down there and somehow managed to get it in. That wasn't the plan there. The kids made the plays."
"We wanted to take away the break and jam him up," said Myers, Inacio's future coach with the Buckeyes. "I thought we did a good job of that. Justin got it in there. The kid made a great catch, certainly one we'd like to have back. But again, that's an opportunity to grow. These are two teams punching back and forth at each other. In the extra period, you saw more of the same. Unfortunately, we ran out of time."
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