Canada Advances to Semi-Finals with Win Over Australia

by Stephen Stamp

Canada scored early and often Thursday night en route to clinching first place in Pool A at the 2022 IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship with a 30-5 win over Australia at the Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg. 

Silas Richmond opened the scoring one minute into the game and by half-time had matched his 7 goals from Canada's first game at the tournament. While all 7 in the earlier game had come from within inches of the crease, Richmond showed his versatility by scoring many of his goals against Australia on bombs from outside. 

Even with adding a pair of assists for a 9-point night, though, Richmond was well back of Canada's scoring leading for the game. Will Macleod showed off his explosive athleticism and silky hands to full effect, scoring 6 goals and adding 8 assists to earn Canada's player of the game aware. The 14 points moved him to a tournament-leading 20 through the two games of pool play at the six-nation tournament. 

Canada led 11-2 after the first quarter, shut out the Aussies 7-0 in the second and kept rolling along with an 8-1 third. They backed off the gas a bit in the fourth, only doubling up Australia by a 4-2 count. 

As expected with such a scoring outburst, plenty of Canadians put up eye-popping numbers. Jeremy Wudrick scored 4 of his 5 goals in the second half and added a pair of assists. Keaton Zavitz and Carter Moran played facilitator roles, each scoring once while amassing 6 assists. 

[PHOTO: Players of the Game | Will MacLeod Canada, Zac Clothier Australia]

Trace Stewart and Shane Friesen shared the goaltending duties, each stopping more than 80% of the shots he faced. Stewart started and made 9 saves on 11 shots in the first half. Friesen was busier in the second half as Australia managed 19 shots, but he still allowed only 3 goals. 

Australia has been hit by injury, with a handful of players unavailable putting extra pressure on the remaining roster to withstand Canada's constant waves of offence. The Aussies battled gamely throughout and had their strongest stretch late in the game, scoring 2 of the last 3 goals. 

Bruising defender Conrad Squarek played an imposing style of game and showed some panache, as well. The 6'5”, 265-pounder twice rumbled successfully in transition, smashing his way through defenders attempting to check him. Once he sniped a shot into the bottom corner then rattled the glass with a celebratory leap into the boards. Later he took a shot from close in on his off side after a floor-length rush, grabbed the short rebound as he avoided stepping in the crease, and slammed home a spectacular sweeping one-handed dunk shot. 

Zac Clothier also showed well for Australia, earning player of the game honours with a gritty, two-way game that included sturdy defence, frequently leading the clear of the defensive zone, and a goal in transition. 

Canada advances directly to Saturday's second semifinal with their 2-0 Group A record. There they will meet the winner of Friday's crossover game between Israel (2nd in Group B) and Australia (3rd in Group A). 

Friday's other crossover features the USA (2nd in Group A) vs Poland (3rd in Group B), with the winner advancing to meet Haudenosaunee, the top club in Group B, in the semis. 

All games are streamed live on the TSN app, TSN Direct and