The United States began pursuit of the 2022 World Lacrosse Men’s U21 Championship with a hard-fought 7-5 victory over Canada on Wednesday in Limerick, Ireland.
The event, originally scheduled for 2020 before being postponed twice for the global pandemic, features 23 nations and will conclude with the championship game on Aug. 20 aired live in the United States on ESPNU.
On Wednesday, the U.S. got dominant performances from goalie Liam Entenmann and its faceoff unit to key the victory. Entenmann, an All-American at Notre Dame, went the distance and made 11 saves while Jake Naso (10-1) and Alec Stathakis (4-0) combined to win all but one faceoff in the contest.
The U.S. used that possession advantage to open up a 3-0 lead, but Canada got back in the game with two late goals in the first half. With 2:28 remaining in the first half, Adam Poitras slipped inside for a goal and drew a crosscheck penalty, setting up an extra man goal for Grayson Hogg that made it a one-goal game at the half.
Canada’s Noah Manning opened the scoring in the second half to tie the game at 3 before USA co-captain Graham Bundy Jr. ended a more than 30-minute USA scoring drought late in the third quarter. After another Naso faceoff win, Brendan Grimes then scored with just three seconds left in the third quarter to put the U.S. up 5-3.
Manning got his second goal of the game to open the fourth quarter scoring for Canada, but Alex Slusher and Brennan O’Neill answered with fourth quarter goals for the U.S. and Entenmann shut the door the rest of the way, including a big save with just over a minute left after Ross Scott had scored for Canada with 1:55 left to cut the margin back to two goals.
Patrick Kavanagh, who scored the first goal of the game, had two assists for a team-high three points and O’Neill led the U.S. with two goals. Slusher also had multiple points with a goal and an assist.
Manning’s two goals led Canada and Caleb Creasor made nine saves.
The U.S., which has won all eight previous championships at this level (it was previously U19), continues pool play on Thursday against England. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ at 11 a.m. (Eastern).
Game stats available at: https://www.worldlax2022.com/results