United States Prevails Over Determined Poland Squad
The United States was in a battle for 38 minutes, but 6 unanswered goals the rest of the way propelled them to a 12-4 win over Poland Friday and a berth in Saturday's semifinals at the IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship at the Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg.
The teams traded goals in the first minute, then again a few minutes later. The US looked like they were taking control when Caden Padelford, playing his first game of the tournament, sparked a 4-goal run with a pair of goals to make it 6-2 after a first quarter in which they outshot Poland 21-8.
Brendan Godwin, who would be named Poland's player of the game, had made 15 saves through the first 15 minutes and was even sharper in the second, blanking the Americans and giving his teammates a chance to climb back into contention. They took advantage, with Londyn Kupps scoring his second of the game then Preston Stewart ripping home a shot on the power play to make the score 6-4.
Nobody scored for the remaining 9:36 of the first half and the drought continued through almost seven minutes of the third quarter. The US continued to direct more shots on net and create high-quality scoring chances, and eventually they were rewarded. Cooper Demallie went back-to-back, scoring on a well-placed outside shot then connecting on a driving individual effort for a shorthanded goal.
That goal closed out Demallie's hat trick. Combined with adding a pair of assists and solid efforts on the forecheck, that earned Demallie the player of the game award for the US. His pair in the third were the only goals of the quarter and positioned his team well in their hunt for the semis, leading 8-4 after 45 minutes.
Cam Pilon wasn't facing a ton of rubber in the US net—the States more than doubled Poland in total shots on net, 61-29 for the game—but he simply wasn't letting anything by him in the second half. He wound up shutting Poland out for the final 39:36.
The US kept the pressure on in the fourth quarter and slowly pulled away. Russell Maher had led the team with 8 goals through their two round robin games but hadn't yet scored against Poland. He rectified that situation with a goal that started a 3-goal run—including Padelford's hat trick marker—that took just 55 seconds, extended the lead to 11-4 and made the march to the finish begin to feel inevitable.
One more goal from Maher closed out the scoring and sent the US to a 5pm CT/6pm ET Saturday matchup with the Haudenosaunee in the 2022 World Juniors' first semifinal. Canada faces Israel in the second semi at 8pm CT/9pm ET.
All games are streamed live on the TSN app, TSN Direct and TSN.ca.