LANGLEY, British Columbia — Four-time world champion Canada used a stifling defense to beat the United States 16-6 in the opening round of pool play at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship.
Canada, the only champion in the history of the quadrennial event that was first played in 2003, poured in seven goals in the first quarter to seize control of the game early.
After Kieran McArdle scored for the U.S. to tie the game 1-1 early in the game, Canada scored six straight goals before Blaze Riorden scored on a 5-on-3 power play with 32 seconds remaining in the opening quarter to cut the lead to 7-2.
Canada’s defense then held the U.S. offense scoreless for the next 28 minutes before Riorden finally scored again with just 2:22 left in the third quarter to pull the U.S. within 12-3.
Canada edged the U.S. 4-3 in the final quarter to seal the victory.
McArdle and Riorden each scored three goals for the U.S. with McArdle adding a pair of assists. Joe Resetarits and Gale Thorpe each had three assists for the U.S.
David Mather made the start in goal for the U.S., before giving way to Gowah Abrams midway through the first quarter with Canada leading 6-1. Abrams made 29 saves in the contest and Mather, who returned in the fourth quarter, made seven.
Mark Matthews led a balanced Canadian offense with a hat trick and Dillon Ward made 36 saves to earn the victory.
The U.S. continues pool play on Friday night against Israel at 7:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. Eastern) on Lax Sports Network. Israel dropped its opener on Thursday by a 17-6 score to the Iroquois Nationals.