Canada will face Scotland and the United States takes on Israel in the semifinals at the IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship in Saskatoon Friday.
Canada (Pool A) and the United States (Pool B) won their pools with perfect 2-0 round robin records to earn berths straight to the semis.
Semi-Final 1, Israel vs United States 5:00 PM CST
Pool B second seed Israel continued their roller coaster ride of a tournament in the quarterfinals Thursday night. Israel scored the first 5 and the last 5 goals in their tournament-opening game against Scotland. They really needed the late goals because they were outscored 11-3 by the Scots between their opening and closing runs, holding on to win the game 13-11. Israel then struggled against the US, giving up 4 power play goals and 2 shorthanded markers en route to a 25-3 loss.
The quarterfinal was a big bounceback game for Israel. Easton Berrns and Haakon Steen each scored 4 goals and 4 assists while Jaxon Baker had hat tricks and three other players scored 2 goals each in a 25-6 win over Australia.
The United States opened the World Juniors with an unusual game against Scotland. The US exploded for a 9-2 lead after the first quarter and looked like they would blow the Scots out of the rink. But Scotland tightened up defensively and started to find their offensive rhythm, and wound up outscoring the US 12-9 the rest of the way to make the final score a respectable 18-14.
Their second game was the matchup with Israel, and the US made a point of not letting up and allowing Israel to get back into the game the way they had with Scotland. Ryan Colsey scored 9 goals in the win over Israel after having had 4 against Scotland, giving him a team-leading total of 13. Nate Senez is just a single point behind Colsey for the US with 6 goals and 8 assists.
Semi-Final 2, Scotland vs Canada 8:00 PM CST
Canada's challenge in the semis may be that they haven't been challenged yet. The Canadians crushed Poland 32-7 on Monday, the first day of the tournament, then returned to action Wednesday and downed Australia 26-7. Canada dominates the scoring table at the tournament despite having played just two games, with three players scoring 20 or more points already. Matt Boas leads all scorers with 28 points from 13 goals and 15 assists. Finn Halladay is the top goal scorer with 14 and has added 10 assists.
Scotland lost both of their round robin games in the competitive Pool B, but were close in both, falling 18-14 to the US and 13-11 to Israel.
In Thursday's quarterfinal, Scotland fell behind Poland 2-1 but then put together a pair of 5-goal runs separated by just a single Polish marker. Scotland continued to give up goals in bunches as well as scoring them in bunches, allowing Poland to connect for five in a row, but Scotland held on to win 13-9 and advance to their date with Canada.
Nolan Eastwood is Scotland's top gun with his 12 goals being more than twice as many as any of his teammates, while Grady Holmes (5g/6a) and Zane Fletcher (4g/7a) have each contributed 11 points.