TUSTIN, California, May 13. THE USA Men's National Team closed out the FINA World League Prelims with a perfect 4-0 record, following a defeat of Canada, 17-6, at Foothill High School. John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California/NYAC) scored three goals and Andy Stevens (Villa Park, CA/LMU/NYAC) stopped nine shots in a balanced team effort.
Team USA got on the board almost immediately when Jeff Powers (San Luis Obispo, CA/UC-Irvine/Newport WPF) scored a power play goal less than a minute into the match for a 1-0 lead. Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) followed with a score a minute later and the United States went up 2-0. Canada answered with a score at the 2:29 mark of the first period but their momentum was short lived as the United States answered with consecutive goals to go up 4-1 after eight minutes.
Mann opened the scoring in the second period with a goal inside to take a 5-1 lead. Canada looked to rally with two straight goals to get back in the match, trailing 5-3, with 4:34 left. That would be as close as Canada would get as Team USA then ran off six straight goals to close out the first half leading 11-3. Peter Varellas (Moraga, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) would score twice in that run, along with tallies from Powers, Peter Hudnut (Encino, CA/Stanford/NYAC), Shea Buckner (Villa Park, CA/USC/NYAC), and Jesse Smith (Coronado, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC).
Canada opened the third period with a score to draw within 11-4. Powers and Mann followed with goals to build a 13-4 lead with 2:25 left in the third. Canada would score two of the next three goals to close within 14-6 going into the fourth. Team USA put the match away in the fourth with three more goals from Hudnut, Mann, and Brian Alexander (Santa Ana, CA/UCSB/Olympic Club). Every field player for Team USA scored at least once as they went on to the 17-6 win.
The United States went 7/9 on power plays and 1/1 on penalties while Canada was 1/6 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty. Next up for Team USA will be a series with Croatia and Hungary starting on May 26 at Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach, CA.
USA 17 (4, 7, 3, 3) J. Mann 3, P. Varellas 2, B. Alexander 2, S. Buckner 2, J. Powers 2, P. Hudnut 2, J. Smith 1, T. Azevedo 1, A Wright 1, T. Hutten 1
CAN 6 (1, 2, 3, 0)
Saves – USA – A. Stevens 9
6×5 – USA – 7/9 – CAN – 1/6
Penalties – USA – 1/1 – CAN – 0/0
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