Today’s final game of the 2018 North American and Caribbean tournament was a must-win for the Senior Men’s National team. Looking to keep their qualification hopes alive, they faced off on the first game of the day against their northern rivals, Canada.
Canada jumped out to an early lead, but by the 10 minute mark Team USA was finally starting to get things going. Chris Morgan scored a goal, followed quickly by a steal by Ty Reed and another 7m converted by Sam Hodderson. Ty and Chris then collaborated on a big defensive stop, and though the team couldn’t convert the initial fastbreak, captain Jordan Fithian dove into the 6m zone to tap in a rebound. Another defensive stop and fast break completed the sequence and Team USA had drawn even by the 13:55 mark. The two team battled back and forth, ending the half with two 2 minute penalties on Team Canada and the USA capitalizing on another 7m by Hodderson to end the half trailing only by a single goal, 17 - 16.
The USA men tried to press their numerical advantage at the start of of the second half, and scored some quick goals from both wings, Mike Lee and Ty Reed, but Canada seemed to have an answer for every USA goal and the teams stayed roughly even until the USA took the lead at 9:10 in the second half with a wing to wing pass and another goal by Ty Reed. Jordan Fithian came up with a defensive block and Ty Reed sped off on a fast break to edge the USA to a two goal lead. But again, Canada seemed to find an answer by drawing a penalty of their own and forcing and converting a pair of critical USA turnovers, retaking the lead 29 - 27 with only 10 minutes left to play. The USA men never quit and clawed their way back to within one point multiple times, but couldn’t quite make it over that last hurdle before running out of time and ending the game, 33 - 31.
The Senior Men’s National Team finished the 2018 North American and Caribbean Championships with a record of 1 -3 -1, which is unfortunately, not enough to qualify them for the Pan American Championships. Instead, the team will refocus its efforts on a rematch with Canada. The two countries will square off again for a home and away series in September to determine who will be the North American representative at the Pan Am Games next year in Peru 2019.