COSTA MESA, California, May 14. SHAKING off a slow start the USA Men's Senior National Team turned in a stellar second half to breakaway from Canada for an 8-5 win in the first match of the FINA World League Prelims at Costa Mesa High School. JW Krumpholz (Santa Ana, CA/USC/NYAC) scored twice and Merrill Moses (Palos Verdes, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC) stopped six shots in net to earn the victory. The two teams will be back in action on Sunday at 12pm also at Costa Mesa HS to close out the series.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter as each team would squander power play opportunities. The seal on the cage was finally broken with just :18 remaining in the period as Canada connected on a player advantage goal for a 1-0 lead as play moved to the second quarter. At the 5:32 mark in the second quarter Canada came back for more with another power play score for a 2-0 lead. The United States would battle back after that as less than a minute later Ben Hohl (Atherton, CA/UCLA/Bruin) got Team USA on the board to draw within 2-1. After about another minute the matched was tied at 2-2 when Peter Hudnut (Encino, CA/Stanford/LAWPC) found Krumpholz on a beautiful feed to knot things up. The first half would belong to Canada however as they would close out the second period with one last goal on a deep lob shot that sailed home for a 3-2 lead going to intermission.
The third quarter saw more back and forth action. John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California/NYAC) tallied a goal to open the scoring in the period and knot the match up again at 3-3. Canada would answer at the 4:36 mark to retake the lead at 4-3. Several minutes would pass before Team USA came back to answer again when Ryan Bailey (Long Beach, CA/UC-Irvine/Newport WPF) tossed in a sweet backhand for a 4-4 game going to the fourth.
In the final period the United States flat out took over. Brian Alexander (Santa Ana, CA/UCSB/Olympic Club) got things going early with a shot from outside for a 5-4 lead, the first of the game for Team USA. That was followed by Krumpholz hitting on a dish from Hohl for a 6-4 lead. After that, even better passing came along when Bailey touched a pass to Peter Varellas (Moraga, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) who did the rest for a 7-4 game. Canada attempted a late rally with a score at the 3:02 mark to close within 7-5. That idea was snuffed out when Tommy Corcoran (Coronado, CA/USC/Olympic Club) hit on a counter attack goal for an 8-5 lead, one the USA would not relinquish.
Despite the early struggles the United States finished 5/11 on power plays. Earlier in the day the USA World University Games team defeated the USA Men's Junior National Team 13-7.
USA – 8 (0, 2, 2, 4) J. Krumpholz 2, B. Hohl 1, J. Mann 1, R. Bailey 1, B. Alexander 1, P. Varellas 1, T. Corcoran 1
CAN – 5 (1, 2, 1, 1)
6×5 – USA – 5/11
Saves – USA – M. Moses 6
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