2019 E-Box Recap
Twenty athletes from seven different provinces travelled to Prague, Czech Republic this past week and shared in a memorable lacrosse and cultural experience.
The opening game of the 2019 European Box Lacrosse Invitational series saw Canada take on Austria. The Austrian roster largely consisted of players from the Vienna Monarchs and KAC Lacrosse. "Both of the clubs [Monarchs and KAC] place a tremendous value on box lacrosse and we hope to work with them in the future." Said Canada General Manager Chris Fox when asked about the development of box lacrosse in Austria.
The European style of box lacrosse does not shy away from the physicality of the sport. Austria played physical making Canada pay for each and every goal. "With NLL and International rules, there is less crosschecking. But they make up for it and make you work for loose balls." Fox added. Canada and Austria battled neck-and-neck for face-offs, with Austria #26 Thomas Anderlik taking most of the draws, edging our Canada 15-13.
Austria's lone goal score was #11 Mason Suppanz, who is from Kamloops, British Columbia and comes from Austrian decent. Canada was lead offensively by #2 Tanner Buck with 4 Goals, 4 Assist, #3 Luke Pilcher with 7 Goals, 7 Assist and #21 Ben Foster with 3 Goals, 5 Assist. Canada would rotated goalies at the half, a trend that continued for each game, with #33 Brody Harris starting, facing 11 Saves and letting up 1 Goal and #00 Laine Hruska making 9 Saves to close out the game.
The second and most anticipated game saw Canada take the only other twenty and under team competing in E-Box the LCC Wolves. The LCC Wolves are the local junior team within the LCC Radotín organizations. LCC Wolves players made up the majority of the 2015 and 2016 World Junior Lacrosse Championship Czech Republic roster that competed in Six Nations.
"The Czechs, outside of North America, are one of the few Nation that have placed a greater focus on box over field and the benefits are apparent." Fox explained. "Their use of space, ability to create space, and sticks skills when passing and finishing are on par with Canada. It's just a matter of depth." Fox added. "It's exciting to watch them play."
The Czechs opened the scoring with a goal from #21 Tomáš Knotek, setting the tone that they had came to play. The Czechs would be led in scoring by #23 Jakub Lukáš with 1 Goal and 2 Assists. Czech goaltender #9 Josef Slavik faced 51 Shots facing Canada the entire length of the game. While Canada was led by Buck with 2 Goals and 2 Assists, their scoring was well rounded with 13 different players finding the back of the net. Hruska started in net for Canada making 11 Saves and giving up 3 Goals in the half. B. Harris came in for the second half and made 13 Saves also letting up 3 Goals.
Back Row (Left to Right): Equipment Manager Daryl (Gus) McLaughlin, Chris Weier, Oriale Mandeville, Garrett Depape, Michael Grace, Aidan Danby, Head Coach Jeff Dowling. Middle Row (Left to Right): Callin Harris, Cooper Gettel, Blake Dunford, Ben Foster, Mathis Couillard, Jacob Parkinson, Bryce Dueck, Sam Leclair, Luke Pilcher, Assistant Coach/General Manager Chris Fox. Front Row (Left to Right): Laine Hruska, Brad Lyons, Liam McGrath Wyatt Haux, Tanner Buck, Brody Harris.
Canada's penultimate game was a battle against the European lacrosse powerhouse, in both box and field, Germany. Germany has down well to balance the growth and development of both box and field for many years. DLaxV, Germany's National Governing Body, along with Clubs have invested in coaching and officiating which has created a progressive ecosystem within the country.
"They were aggressive, but they didn't over extend themselves or risk giving up scoring opportunities by being that aggressive." Fox said of the German style of play. ""Regardless of the other aspects from the game, the competition on the floor was exceptional. Jesse [Cracknell], Adam [Marshall], and [Scott] Stapleford have done an amazing job with the box program."
Germany was led in scoring by #9 Gustav Weber with 2 Goals and #6 Marc Brandenburger also with 2 Goals. Canada was led by Buck with 5 Goals and 1 Assist, Foster with 4 Goals and 1 Assist, and Brad Lyons with 3 Goals and 1 Assist. Both teams split time with their goaltenders. For Germany #1 Tilo Fuchs started the game making 24 Saves and giving up 9 Goals with #3 Jonathan Sievers finishing the second half making 15 Saves and giving up 10 Goals. For Canada B. Harris started and made 12 Saves giving up 4 Goals with Hruska coming in on relief making 23 Saves and giving up 3 Goals.
The final game for Canada at the 2019 E-Box was against Switzerland, another hockey playing nation on the brink of becoming a great box lacrosse force in Europe. The Swiss Men's National team has competed in E-Box in each of the years the tournament has been held along with competing at the Aleš Hřebeský Memorial the last four years starting in 2016.
"Many of the box programs in Europe start with a few guys developing a taste and passion for the indoor game." Fox explained about the Swiss. "A few Nations, like Switzerland, are lucky to have connected with people like Brian Tyacke and Dan Patterson who are just as passionate about developing box lacrosse internationally."
Switzerland's #21 Lukas Heri scored the only 2 Goals for his team. Canada was led by Pilcher with 7 Goals and 2 Assists, Foster with 3 Goals and 3 Assists, and Buck with 1 Goal and 5 Assists. For Switzerland #69 Alexander Meier played the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Quarters of the game making 31 Saves and giving up 20 Goals with #55 Kevin Stauffer playing the 4th Quarter making 9 Saves and giving up 4 Goals. For Canada Hruska played the first half and made 19 Saves giving up 1 Goal with B. Harris playing the second half, making 6 Saves and giving up 1 Goal.
"... we are doing the things that other organizations only talk about doing"
"We're very happy with our trip to Radotín and Prague." Fox said of the trip to the Czech Republic. "As an organization we are doing the things that other organizations only talk about doing, 'growing the game.' We found value in bringing Canada to a non-championship tournament to help foster the growth and development of box lacrosse internationally; all while providing our players with a valuable life experience."
The Canada international program and the Canadian Lacrosse League will continue to travel to international tournaments in preparation for future IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championships and to foster the growth of box lacrosse internationally.