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US Beaten by Canada in Final WFC Match

By
Updated: May 12, 2019
Ethan Jacques (8) spins around Justin Laquerre (10) on his way to his first goal of the game (Photo: Adam Troy)

Photo:  Adam Troy

There just wasn’t enough gas left in the tank.

After the exciting win against Japan on Friday night, the United States was guaranteed to finish higher than any Men’s Under-19 team ever had. On Saturday, they fought for one more position against host country Canada. The winner would take 13th place in the World Floorball Championships and have bragging rights, at least in this division, for the next two years. Alas, it was not to be this year.

Canada defeated Team USA 11-7 in a physical match that featured athleticism, speed, style, and a physical match that defines the rivalry between these two nations: hard-hitting, physical, aggressive, and respectful – at least after the match. The United States finished 14th in the 2019 MU19 WFC, one rank higher than their previous best.

No countries in the world are as friendly over such a long border. Thousands of unguarded miles exist between the two nations, and the ties that bind us are long and unbroken. Saturday night, in an arena in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the rivalry renewed in a rather intense fashion. Right out of the gate, both teams exchanged a frenzy of rushes and shots that took the game from one end of the rink to the other in a non-stop back and forth.

US Coaches on the bench (L-R) - Patrick Jesue, Lars Halvardsson, Joel Olofsson (Photo: Adam Troy)

US Coaches on the bench (L-R) – Patrick Jesue, Lars Halvardsson, Joel Olofsson (Photo: Adam Troy)

Canada struck first, just under five minutes into the match, on a put-back rebound from US goalie Jonathan Mooney. Two minutes later the US equalized when captain Carl Eriksson took a pass from who else but Eric Dieckelman, and fired it past Canadian goalie Simon Tracy. Dieckelman led the team, and the entire B Division, in assists for the tournament with 11. At 6:30 into the game the score was 1-1.

Team USA added another goal at the 12:03 mark, with one of the highlight reel goals of the entire tournament. Stealing the ball along the boards just to the US side of the center line, Ethan Jacques evaded three separate Canadian defenders and pulled Tracy out of position to his right. Once Tracy dove to grab the ball, Jacques drew the ball back and flipped it over Tracy to complete the goal. Only a minute later, the US struck again when defenseman Thomas Terhonen took a cross-court pass from Eriksson and beat Tracy diving back to his right. The US was up 3-1 with 6:52 remaining in the first period.

The rest of the first period and all the second period belonged to Team Canada, with the Canucks running six unanswered goals at the United States, including one on a penalty shot. The US was careless with the ball and had multiple turnovers that resulted in goals for Canada. Canadian forward Joseph DeMarco drew a two-minute penalty for an illegal hit, but the usually consistent US power play was unable to convert.

Nearing the end of the period, Canada forward Russell Epp was called for a delayed penalty for an illegal hit. During the ensuing possession, while Mooney ran off the floor to add the sixth US attacker, Canada forward William Collins was also called for pushing in the corner. With 1:04 remaining in the second, Canada finally touched up on the ball and the Americans went on a two-man advantage for two minutes. For the remainder of the period, Team USA managed only two attempts, but neither of them found the goal. The period ended with Canada ahead 7-3.

Aleksi Huttunen scores one of two goals against Canada (Photo: Adam Troy)

Aleksi Huttunen scores one of two goals against Canada (Photo: Adam Troy)

When the third period opened Alexi Huttunen scored quickly, only ten seconds in, on a quick feed from Terhonen off the draw. The US had drawn back to within three goals. The US kept an aggressive, forward-facing offense and applied pressure on the forecheck, and the first four minutes of the period was played in the Canadian zone. At 44:11, Eriksson fed Dieckelman in the high slot and he fired it past Tracy to cut the lead to two. Canada responded and turned the pressure back up, getting three goals in the next ten minutes, including one on the power play. With just over six minutes to go, the US was back down five at 10-5.

The US went all-out to try to close the gap. Only six seconds after the next faceoff, Dieckelman scored his second goal of the game to pull Team USA back to four. As coach Joel Olofsson had done many times in this tournament, he pulled Mooney off the rink early to give the US an extra attacker. The team applied significant additional pressure to Tracy, but he was able to hold off the Americans. With two minutes to go, Canadian forward Cedric Grenapin stole the ball in the high slot and lofted one down the rink to hit the empty net. The US was back down five.

Canada drew a last-minute penalty and Huttunen was able to convert to bring the score back to 11-7. However, the clock ran out and the US had to settle for 14th place in the 2019 World Floorball Championships. In the end, the ties that bind us proved to be more than even a hard-fought, occasionally rancorous floorball game could break, and the teams lined up for a joint North American picture after the match. The looks of frustration on the US faces could not be denied, because the team felt that this was one that got away.

Team USA Fans watch their boys play Canada (Photo: Adam Troy)

Team USA Fans watch their boys play Canada (Photo: Adam Troy)

Still, the United States Men’s Under-19 moved up a single ranking to 14th and had a number of successes to celebrate in this year’s tournament. Six players got their first international goals: Huttunen, Dieckelman, Jacques, Terhonen, Case Connor, and Tyler Radichel. The team won their first group stage match, the Friday night thriller against Japan. They played all their games much closer than in previous years, avoiding blowouts as has happened in the past.

There is a lot to be happy about for US Floorball, and it’s time to build on the body of work that this team produced in Halifax. US Nationals is coming in three months, and the process of preparing both the Men’s National Team for the 2020 WFC and 2021 World Games and the Men’s Under-19 Team for the 2021 WFC starts today! Watch here for more information about how we plan to use this performance by these fine young men as a springboard to future success.

Thanks for following us during Halifax 2019! We hope you enjoyed the highlights.