Canada cruises past Australia at WILC, 26-2

Aussie sandwich at the WILC
Aussie sandwich at the WILC  

Rory Smith had never played a game of lacrosse for Canada and he hadn't scored a goal anywhere in seven years. He got both done Monday when he pulled on the red and white for the first time and produced a highlight reel beauty in a 26-2 world indoor tournament victory over Australia that boosted Canada's record to 2-0. It was all planned. His teammates had told him they'd get him the ball for a scoring chance and the stay-at-home defenceman devoured the opportunity when Jeff Moleski tossed it to him early in the second half. He took off.

Smith dashed to the crease, leapt into the air and extended his stick to swing the ball into the net for his first goal since he played Jr. B in Toronto's Mimico neighbourhood seven years ago. The ball entered the net just before his slammed chest first into the green carpet. He jumped up, bent to one knee and cocked his right arm in celebration.

"I had that move planned for a while now," he said. "I used a dive-across-drag move. The whole team helped me get that goal and it was awesome."

His teammates gave him a rousing welcome back to the bench as the arena announcer called out his name as the goal scorer. In the stands, Rory's brothers Brendan, in from Wisconsin, and Reilly, who travelled all the way from school at Miami of Ohio, yelled as loud as they were able.

"I was so excited for him," said fellow defenceman Bill Greer. "We talked about it earlier today. He said today he felt he was ready to do it. I know from playing with Rory that he's wanted one for a long time now. I was pumped for him. And it was one of the nicest goals of the day. It was a beauty. We're proud of him. Hopefully it doesn't take him as long to get his next one."

Will it go to his head? Will he try to score every time he touches the ball now?

"I hope not," said Greer.

Canada had quarter leads of 9-1, 17-1 and 20-1. Dan Dawson and Stephan Leblanc scored five goals each, Jeff Zywicki got four, Jordan Hall and John Grant Jr. got three each, Shawn Evans and Colin Doyle had two each and Smith and Moleski got one each. Tyler Richards was in Canada's net for the first quarter and Anthony Cosmo went the rest of the way.

"It was a good win," said Smith, who was a healthy scratch the previous day when Canada beat Slovakia. "We stayed on our game plan and didn't let up. It was a nice solid win."

The Aussies were no match skills-wise but can hack as well as anybody.

"They're tough," said Smith.

Canada completes round-robin play in its pool Tuesday against England.

"One more win and we'll get a couple of days off," said Smith. "We'll get some ice on the bodies and it'll be good."

Dawson was a late arrival and didn't play Sunday either.

"I wanted to get a good sweat on and get into some contact to get the body used to the rough and tough international play," he said. "It was about getting the body loose and getting a good sweat on."

He likes what he sees.

"We're trying to get better every game, working the systems and making sure everybody gets a touch on offence," he said. "Everyone is buying in. It was a great effort. We're going to enjoy this win but stay focused. We're taking it one game at a time and everything we're doing this week is striving to be better every day."

Aussie forward Jeff Joy watched Canada put on a show of firepower that he and his mates could not come close to matching.

"Unbelievable stick skills," he said when asked to assess the Canadians. "They taught us a lesson in the indoor game. We tried hard all game. We're still learning the indoor game. We're mainly all field guys. This team is a mix of some guys who have been in the world indoors before and some new guys. It was good to get out there and line up against John Grant Jr. and Dawson. It was kind of a clinic for us."


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