C.J. Kirst scored five goals to lead the United States past Canada 12-10 to win the 2022 World Lacrosse Men’s U21 Championship in Limerick, Ireland. It was the ninth consecutive men’s world championship for the U.S. at the junior level.
Unlike the most recent junior world championship, in 2016, when the U.S. trailed Canada by six at the half and by three in the fourth quarter before rallying for a 13-12 victory, the U.S. never trailed in this championship, but it was far from easy.
Canada cut the U.S. lead to a single goal twice in the second half, the last coming with 2:16 to play on a Graydon Hogg goal. Jake Naso won the ensuing faceoff for the U.S. after Jack Monfort scooped up a ground ball and then Patrick Kavanagh split a double-team and scored a goal with no goalie in the crease with 1:44 left to give the U.S. the final 12-10 margin.
The championship was flipped from the pool play game between these two countries, a 7-5 USA win fueled by faceoff dominance and 11 saves from Liam Entenmann to backbone the defense. On Saturday, Canada won 15 of 26 faceoffs and Entenmann made just five saves, but came up clutch with two in the fourth quarter.
The offense carried a bigger load for the U.S. in the second game between the two teams and Kirst did most of the early work, scoring all five of his goals in the first half. He also added an assist in the third quarter after Canada began keying on him more.
Brennan O’Neill was also a big force for the U.S. offense, finishing with two goals and an assist and Kavanagh had two goals and two assists.
Hogg led Canada with three goals and Owen Hiltz and Ross Scott each scored twice. Canada had assists on just two of its 10 goals as compared to seven of 12 for the U.S.
In the bronze medal game, Trey Deere had a hat trick to lead the Haudenosaunee past Australia 10-6, avenging a pool play loss to the Aussies.
NOTE: From 1988 through 2016 this championship used the U19 age grouping. World Lacrosse has since reclassified it to a U20 championship moving forward. The 2022 event was given a one-time age exemption to U21 due to postponements from the global pandemic.
Game stats available at: https://www.worldlax2022.com/results