A shorthanded Team Iroquois set the table for a big opening win for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Lacrosse Championship in Saskatoon on Wednesday.
Canada ran Iroquois into the ground with a 26-9 win at SaskTel Centre in the opening game of the tournament.
"Obviously we were playing against a depleted team, so they're going to be a different team if we see them again, but it was good for us to keep playing our game, despite them being shorthanded, we kept going with what we wanted to work on, so it was good," said Canada head coach Jeff Dowling.
Moose Jaw's Quinn Ingalls was a healthy scratch for the game, but had the chance to take part in warmups with Canada prior to the opener.
He said even that was an amazing experience, "It's pretty cool, anytime you can throw on the maple leaf, you turn into a kid again, so it was pretty awesome," said Ingalls.
The local product is hoping to get into the lineup heading into Canada's next game against the United States on Friday.
"I'm just glad to be here, I'm pretty lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of Team Canada, so not stressing too much, but it's just about getting my foot in the door and trying to progress everyday," said Ingalls.
Iroquois gave Canada a good fight throughout the first half, but ran out of steam over the final 30 minutes due to having just ten players in the lineup.
Half of Team Iroquois' players were stuck in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and weren't able to make it to the Bridge City in time for the game.
"Short bench, but overall we did good with nine runners against the best in Canada," said Leask, Sask. product Kallen Currie from Team Iroquois.
"The boys on the team are confident that we're going to come out with a win (against the United States) and hopefully play Sunday for the gold medal."
Thomas Vaesen led Canada with four goals and five points in the win, while Kyle Dawson picked up a hat trick and five points. Tanner Buck and Johnathan Peshko finished with two goals and five points each.
Brad Lyons and Matthew Wright also had hat tricks in the win for Canada.
Canada led 5-2 after the first quarter, but Iroquois battled back with two quick goals to open the second and make it 5-4, but the Canadians pulled away after that for a 12-5 lead at halftime.
The back-and-forth continued early in the third quarter, but the Canadian depth was too much as they scored seven goals in the third and seven more in the fourth, while holding Iroquois to just four second half goals.
"We did a good job of pushing the pace, we could have worked on it more at the end, we got a little lazy out there, but we addressed it in the dressing room and know what to work on," said Saskatoon's Colin Berglof. "For the most part, we did a good job of transitioning the ball and moving our feet on offence and defence."
Marshall Powless led Team Iroquois with one goal and six points in the loss.
Canada outshot Iroquois 85-44.
Team Canada will now turn their focus to Team U.S.A. in their round robin finale on Friday night. The Americans will face Team Iroquois on Thursday in their first game of the championship. The gold medal game is set for Sunday.