Coquitlam, B.C. – Team Canada was able to maintain momentum after an hour-long delay, earning a hard fought 12-9 victory over the Iroquois Nationals on an eventful night at Coquitlam Town Centre Park.
The two evenly matched teams battled back-and-forth all night in a game that had eight lead changes and plenty of beautiful goals. The action on the field, however, was somewhat overshadowed by the technical difficulties off field that caused the game to be delayed and change of fields twice before it could be completed.
With Canada leading 8-7 in the third quarter, play was stopped by the referees after the main stadium suddenly went dark. A blown transformer on one of the light towers began to smoke and caused the lights to go out. After a short discussion, tournament officials decided to move the game to another field.
As the teams and tournament crew began setting themselves up on the second field, it became evident that there were not enough working lights to safely light the field of play, so everyone packed up their gear and made their way to a third field.
Both teams were well into their warm-up when the lights once again cut out without notice, which was later attributed to an automatic timer set to turn them off at a specified time since no games were scheduled for that field.
Once the action finally restarted, the sidelines were packed with fans who toughed it out so they could finish watching what was being termed on social media as an ‘instant classic’.
“There’s only so much you can do,” said Team Canada head coach Taylor Wray after the game. “You try to keep them loose, focused, moving a little bit. That’s pretty much all you can do. You have to worry about the things you can control.”
In the first half, the Iroquois were able to take advantage of an undisciplined Canadian squad, going 3-for-5 with the man-up, to help build a 6-5 lead. They kept goalkeeper Kyle Hebert (Burlington, Ont.) busy, firing 11 of their 15 total shots towards him in the first two quarters.
Jeff Teat (Brampton, Ont.) once again led the Canadian offense, scoring five points (4 G, 1 A), while three of his teammates, Ethan Walker (Peterborough, Ont.), Ryan Lanchbury (Burlington, Ont.) and Marshal King (Victoria, B.C.), each added a goal and an assist.
The offensively gifted tandem of Tehoka Nanticoke and Austin Staats took turns scoring highlight reel goals for the Iroquois, something the opposing head coach was quick to praise.
“Their guys made some pretty incredible plays tonight, almost indefensible plays,” said Wray. “You’ve got guys draped all over them, and they make great catches, turn and spin and shoot. I mean, I don’t know what to tell our guys to stop that. They have some great players.”
After Riley Curtis’ (Brampton, Ont.) game-tying goal, both Dalton Follows (Oakville, Ont.), who scored his first of the tournament, and local product Thomas Semple (Coquitlam, B.C.) helped put the game out of reach with late goals of their own.
Canada (2-1) finishes off round robin play against Australia (1-1).