Playing in a sold out Onondaga Arena, the Iroquois Nationals played its first-ever international game on Haudenosaunee soil, beating England 20-6 in their third game of the FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championships.
“It was a great game for the Haudenosaunee,” Iroquois Nationals head coach Rich Kilgour said. “This is the first international game on home soil. I think the guys showed how fired up they were in that first quarter. We kept playing hard, and they (England) showed lots of pride, playing a little rough to try and get back in it. But we stayed the course, took care of business and got out of here with a win.”
A fired up Iroquois squad scored 10 unanswered goals in the first quarter, with Jeff Shattler and Lyle Thompson leading the way with three goals each, while Roger Vyse added a pair. Brandon Goodwin and Miles Thompson pitched in with one apiece.
Although Cole Shafer scored twice for England in the second quarter, the Iroquois Nationals continued to roll, with Vyse adding two more goals and 17-year-old Austin Staats earning his first goal of the tournament.
Shafer continued to lead England in the third quarter with two more goals, while Clare Nathan added one.
Miles Thompson was the only response for the hosts.
In the final frame, the Iroquois Nationals continued to pour it on, with Shattler leading the way again, this time with two more goals. Randy Staats, Lyle Thompson, Vyse and Tommy Montour added one each.
Chris Manwaring was the lone English goal scorer.
Mike Thompson got the call between the Iroquois Nationals pipes, and was solid, making 36 saves.
England’s Nick Rose was peppered with 76 shots, while Eliot Pugh faced six.
Though the Iroquois team was making history, Tuesday, the moment didn’t faze the players, especially the younger ones in the lineup.
Instead, they thrived on the moment.
“It’s a true honour to play this tournament here,” Austin Staats said. “It’s a great chance to show the world what we have. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m just excited to be part of it all.”
“I don’t feel any pressure,” Brier Jonathan said. “If anything, it’s more exciting. We’ve got the butterflies out early in the tournament. It really is an honour to play in front of and for our people at home. We’re going to do our best to keep rolling.”
And that’s the kind of response Kilgour was hoping for when the tournament began.
“It’s a huge honour to be playing this tournament here,” Kilgour said. “I know when it was announced that it would be here, everyone wanted to be part of it. As soon as I heard where it would be on Native territory, and to be the first team to host something like this, I wanted to be part of it. It’s an extreme honour. I think everyone has taken it seriously. And we’re going to do our best to take it to the end.”
The Iroquois Nationals conclude the round robin portion of the tournament Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., when they take on the Czech Republic at Onondaga Arena.
Media Relations, Iroquois Nationals