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Four Hamilton Bengals Win Gold for Canada

By Rich Landriault, 08/16/19, 10:45PM EDT


Success of Jr. B Bengals personnel at World U20 Juniors goes beyond their championship medal performances

Bengals playoff MVP Lucas Nagy was forced to decline his invitation to the Canada Under-20 combine earlier this year due to illness, but as the six-foot-five eighteen-year-old rode the top of the goaltending stats leaderboard for most of this Jr B season, missing OJBLL Defensive Player of the Year by a single vote, he remained on the radar of the Team Canada selection process. He received the call immediately following the conference finals inviting him onto a three-man Canadian goaltending roster. Nagy accepted, aware that playing time might be sparse, declaring he was "...just thrilled to be wearing the team Canada sweater." He did play a full round-robin game; one of two in the tourney, allowing just two goals by their team Israel opponents.
Nagy loved the experience, made new friendships and vowed he would gladly participate in future campaigns in the event he was not currently competing for a provincial or national junior title at the time. He stated unequivocally that club teams come first.

Life Goals

These same sentiments have been shared by Bengals speedy transition star Jake Parkinson for whom this tournament represents a mindful life-goal; an honour he can now check off his bucket list. Parkinson did not only represent his country but scored two goals and three assists in the process and according to Canada officials, likely turned a lot of heads and landed himself on the radar of team managers beyond Jr. B.

Development Comes FIrst

Bengals coach/GM Jeff Dowling who led the Canadian squad to a second gold-medal victory in consecutive years, reminds that  lacrosse development is a key priority on the world scene. Canadian personnel have specifically been helpful to the programs of Czech Republic and Germany, and to the Israeli Men's entry who "...came out of nowhere to finish fourth in the 2015 World Indoors."
The series also promotes growth for more remote lacrosse communities in Canada by highlighting roster players from six different provinces including Nova Scotia. It has also become a growing forum for management of Canadian junior teams to scout American field players performing in the box format, while south of the border previously-rare indoor programs are currently on the rise.

Beware of Poland!

Duncan Carte

Another regular on the Bengals defense/transition roster this year was Brantford Warrior call-up Duncan Carte. Due to his heritage and a strong junior season on both squads, the aggressive physical defense player found himself on team Poland's roster along with fellow Polish-Canadian juniors, Polish-American field players and overseas players. "The boys were all good lacrosse players," Carte reports but given the great diversity "it was the chemistry we had to work on."
He credits the daily morning shoot-arounds and shuttle rides between stadium and residence as critical opportunities for the disparate crew to bond and gel. While Carte himself had to adjust his game significantly given the decreased tolerance for hard contact in the international game, he also found himself in the role of mentor to traditional field players who had to up their physical game in order to be affective in box. "I tried to show them what box defense is all about, with the switches and all that. They weren't used to it." After some early penalties Carte made personal adjustments and went on to receive team MVP honours for the event.
"But one thing I'm sure about," he adds: "Watch next year: Poland will be at the top of the ranks!"

Five-Nothing Deficit

Jordan Ackie

Physicality played a key role in the final match between the tournament's heavy favourites with a huskier-than-usual Iroquois squad going up five-nothing early and Canadian forwards, unable to score from outside, having to make sacrifices, and take their lumps in order to generate inside chances. The adjustment paid off with the Canucks finally emerging in a 13-10 final.
Also taking the gold medal for Canada U20 was Bengal alumni Jordan Ackie, currently with Kitchener Braves of Jr. A, maintaining his face-off specialist role while four-year Bengals staffers Glen McDonald and Steph McDonald contributed to the enterprise in the roles of equipment manager and booth announcer. 
The World Indoor Championship begins September 19 in Langley BC with the world juniors returning August 3rd 2020 in Winnipeg.