Canada (4-0) wrapped up pool play with an impressive 19-12 win over the Iroquois Nationals (3-1) on Monday night. Both Canada and Iroquois will advance to the championship bracket semifinals.
Iroquois was missing forward Lyle Thompson once again due to an injury sustained in their first game against Israel on Thursday and Thomas Hoggarth went down with an apparent knee injury in the first half. For Canada, Mark Matthews suited up after not playing for a few games and Dillon Ward and Mike Poulin each played one half in net.
In what was the best game of the 2019 WILC thus far, Canada was able to go on a few big runs in the second half which helped them gain momentum and lifted them past Iroquois. In the end, it was Canada outshooting the Iroquois 54-43, capitalizing on the power-play, and receiving great performances in net from Dillon Ward and Mike Poulin that made the difference.
Dhane Smith got Canada on the board first, followed by two power-play goals from Mark Matthews and Curtis Dickson to give Canada the early 3-0 lead. After some stellar back-and-forth defensive play on both ends, Iroquois was able to get on the board with two straight from Zed Williams and Tehoka Nanticoke.
With a 5-4 lead heading into the second, Canada was able to grow it quickly as Shayne Jackson found the back of the net just over a minute into the quarter. Following Jackson’s goal, both goaltenders and defenses as a whole really stepped up, making stop after stop.
With 5:33 left in the second Robert Hope was ejected after receiving a major and game misconduct for head contact and Shayne Jackson was assessed a minor for holding. Iroquois was able to take full advantage of the situation as they score three straight, including two on the power-play and an outside rip from Randy Staats with just three seconds left in the half to give them a 7-6 lead.
The third quarter started very defensive heavy with both goalies getting real hot and each defense not allowing many good looks on net for the opposing offense. Finally, Canada and Iroquois traded goals about four minutes in before Canada exploded on the offensive end. Netting five consecutive goals, Iroquois was completely their heels and had no answer what so ever.
An early power-play allowed Iroquois to find their offense once again and get back on the board early in the third, but Canada answered right back. However, the Iroquois flexed their muscles and scored three goals in less than a minute to cut the Canada lead to just 13-12. That momentum didn’t last long as Canada finished the game on a six-goal run that included two power-play goals.
Iroquois had some real chances to get things going again during that final Canada run, but Mike Poulin continuously shut the door. There were also some questionable calls down the stretch that hurt the Iroquois, as well.
With the win, Canada moves to 27-0 all-time in WILC play and Iroquois drops to 20-7 all-time in WILC play with all seven loses coming to Canada. With both squads advancing to the semifinals, they are on a collision course for a rematch in the Gold Medal game once again.