U.S. lacrosse star Casey Powell said he knew what to expect from the Canadian team in the first game of the best-of-three World Cup of Lacrosse series at Johns Hopkins's Homewood Field tonight.
And his expectations proved correct, which was both good and bad news for him, in the U.S. team's 16-15 victory before 3,077. The victory gave the United States a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 is here Friday night at 8.
Powell said he knew the Canadian team would not give up if it got behind -- then watched as Canada came back from a 14-10, fourth-quarter deficit to close within 16-15 after a goal from midfielder John Tavares (three goals) with 49 seconds remaining.
However, on the next faceoff, U.S. defenseman Jamie Hanford gained control of the ball and passed to Powell, who kept the ball until time ran out.
But Powell, the 1997 and 1998 NCAA Division I player of the year at Syracuse, said he also expected the Canadian team to use cheap shots and late hits to frustrate him. And although he finished with a team-high five points on three goals and two assists, Powell was hit at least six times after releasing the ball and also drew two slashing penalties.
"I knew the Canadians would try to intimidate me and get me out of my game with late hits," Powell said. "I am kind of used to it by now, but it is still frustrating. The Canadians play lacrosse like they play hockey, trying to intimidate you and get into your head. Tonight, though, it just fired me up."
With the game tied at 6 midway through the second quarter, Powell was hit in the head by defenseman John Rosa and fell to the ground. As referees called a slashing penalty on Rosa, Tavares and another Canadian player jumped on Powell as he tried to get up. A near fight ensued as players from both teams began pushing and shoving each other.
After referees stopped the melee, Canada was assessed three penalties, including two for unsportsmanlike conduct. A few seconds later, Darren Lowe (three goals) converted a pass from Powell and beat goalie Chris Sanderson to give the United States a 7-6 lead. The game was tied at 10 after three periods.
The Americans extended the lead to 14-10 after a goal by Michael Watson with 8 minutes 20 seconds remaining. But Canada began its comeback thanks to John Grant, the 1999 NCAA Division I player of the year at Delaware. He finished with a game-high five goals, including four in a five-minute span after Watson's score.
"We have so many good players on this team that I did not want to take the ball to the goal right away," said Grant, whose team was outshot 59-25. "But I have my confidence now."