Canada 7, Abroham Lincoln 10
Division I Impact
The Disciples of the Sacred Moose were the only team yesterday to receive player impact from the current Division I pool. Jesse King (Ohio State) and Wes Berg (Denver) each got run for Team Tobbogan, with Berg -- a hammer for the Pioneers -- getting a start at attack alongside Mark Matthews and Curtis Dickson. The rising senior tallied an assist -- finding Matthews in transition for the game's first goal -- and recorded four groundballs against one turnover. He had a relatively quiet day, and a lot of that had to do with Team Deep-Fried Freedom locking everything down when Team Toque had the bean.
Jesse King was a non-factor, bowing with two shots -- taken early in the second and third quarters -- with both being saved. Brennan Donville (Cornell) sat behind Dillon Ward and did not see any action (but he did see Ward adopt Animal Theory and keep the Maple Leaf Mafia in the game). Canada next plays on Saturday against England at 10:00 P.M.
Uncle Sam isn't carrying any current Division I players on the roster, but the team's coaching staff -- comprised entirely of Division I program navigators -- implemented Operation Make Canada Feel Painful Freedom to perfection. Of notable contribution was Dave Pietramala's (Johns Hopkins) defensive gameplan. A suffocating effort that featured Team USA's short stick midfielders jamming space and its poles yielding few desirable looks, the Stars and Stripes assaulted a sophisticated Team Canada offense to the tune of allowing only 20 shots (14 of which were on goal with seven of those saved). Quint Kessenich had some useful words on Team USA's defensive performance:
Must notable to me was the play of Dan Burns, Matt Abbott and Kyle Harrison — three shorties who were repeatedly challenged by dodges. Canada could not draw double teams, and when they re-dodged to their strong hand, the double teams were well spaced and timely. USA packed it in tight and dared the guys in red to score from the outside, trusting goalie Jesse Schwartzman, who only had to make seven saves. The plan was executed perfectly by the entire defensive corps and midfielders who were unable to sub off.
Pietramala also was concerned about off-ball coverage. When you are facing a Matt Brown-coached offense, it's imperative that you defend the topside, the inside and the backside. "We must collectively play well off the ball on defense," said Pietramala. " We need to be disciplined in our slide decisions. … We have watched University of Denver’s patterns, and we will be ready for those."
USA held Canada scoreless for more than 30 minutes in the second and third quarters. The USA's preparation advantage was very evident. The nearly two-year tryout process and training camps produced a team that was buttoned up on night No. 1.
"These guys are fully invested," said Pietramala. "So they’ll never surrender."
Team Turkey Leg next plays on Saturday against Australia at 7:00 P.M.
Today's Heat (ET)
7:00 P.M. (ESPN3): Australia v. Japan
10:00 P.M. (ESPN3): England v. Iroquois
10:00 A.M. (ESPN3): Netherlands v. China
11:00 A.M.: Italy v. Norway
2:00 P.M.: Czech Republic v. Turkey
2:30 P.M.: Poland v. Costa Rica
1:30 P.M.: Slovakia v. Korea
1:30 P.M.: Sweden v. Israel
11:00 A.M.: Wales v. Russia
2:30 P.M.: New Zealand v. Argentina
11:30 A.M.: Hong Kong v. Austria
4:00 P.M. (ESPN3): Germany v. Belgium
1:30 P.M.: Finland v. Colombia
2:30 P.M.: Spain v. Mexico
10:30 A.M.: Latvia v. Switzerland
1:00 P.M. (ESPN3): Scotland v. Thailand
11:00 A.M.: Bermuda v. France
4:30 P.M.: Ireland v. Uganda