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BRONZE MEDAL GAME - Iroquois Nationals 20 Australia 8 - BOX SCORE

COQUITLAM - Mitch Laffin scored six goals and added three assists as the Iroquois Nationals won their third consecutive bronze medal at the U19 level Saturday at the 2016 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Under-19 Men's Lacrosse World Championships presented by Novus.

Laffin, Austin Staats (3G, 3A), Tehoka Nanticoke (2G, 1A), Matthew Bennett (2G, 1A), Sekwanee Baker (2G), Doug Jamieson (1G, 1A), Skkylar Thomas (1G, 1A), Devon Buckshot (1G) and Tyson Bomberry (1G) provided the Iroquois scoring. Gordon Purdie Jr (2G, 2A), Mathew Wood (2G, 3A), Jordan Campbell (2G), Brayden Panting (1G, 1A) and Keegan Davies (1G, 1A) provided the Australian offence.

Head coach Freeman Bucktooth was pleased with the result but said the team had hoped to be playing for gold.

"We played OK. We could do a lot better and the guys know it," Bucktooth said. "They came here to get the gold and faced two tough teams, Canada and the U.S. But we're looking for the future, and hopefully we get better. So we get together, we come as a solid unit." 

The Iroquois were coming off a tough 14-11 loss in the semifinal game against Canada on Thursday.

"I just told the guys, 'We play for the Creator, his enjoyment. The sun's still going to come up tomorrow and you've got to live every day as it comes. Some things work out for you, sometimes they don't.' So, just trying to bring some realistic life history to it, to this game. So the guys played well, we relaxed. Yesterday we didn't practice, we didn't do anything lacrosse, did some travelling and sightseeing. I tell you, I won't mind coming out to B.C. every year, it's so beautiful here."


This is the third consecutive bronze medal for the Iroquois at the U19 tournament, with others coming in Finland in 2012 and Coquitlam in 2008. They also won bronze in Australia in 1999.

The Iroquois led 3-2 after the opening quarter before exploding for a 7-2 edge in second to lead by six at the break. Discipline allowed the Crocodiles from down under to creep back into the game - Australia's powerplay went 4-for-12, with three of extra-man goals coming in the second quarter.

Australia played a strong opening quarter to make things tough.

"We told them, ''Hey, these guys are coming for a medal, it's there for the winning, or there for the losing.' I asked what they wanted to do, if they wanted to win or lose the medal. It picked them up a bit and they started generating some goals, played better defence and ground balls."

Laffin had his best game of the tournament - but some of that credit needs to be shared as close marking on Staats and Nanticoke opened up the attacker from Onondaga. Jamieson was impressive winning 16 of 26 draws.

The momentum was going in Australia's favour until Staats and Nanticoke each tallied in the final minute of the half.

Australia finishes in fourth, hitting a goal to move up in the U-19 placings after a fifth-place showing in 2012. Their best-ever placing is second which they achieved in 1992 and 1996.

For the Iroquois this is another step forward for the program.

"We're putting more guys in college. This team, I think, has only got three college players," Bucktooth, father of star Brett Bucktooth, said. "We may have around 250 kids that - if they all came out and tried out we might have a grand total of 250 kids in this age bracket, whereas Canada might be 250,000 at this age and in the U.S. even more. So it just goes to show that for us to be able to play at this level of competition, we've got a lot of heart and quick sticks. So they've got some good athletes. It's tough to beat good athletes."

"And they've been together," Bucktooth adds. "Where we've been together just about a week before we came here. We were still a selecting and team and that's our fault - we were tardy on that part. And something I've been always trying to get the organization - let's get our coaches picked in advance. The U.S. and Canada, they have their team picked before the Iroquois have picked their coaches."

The Iroquois will be hungry when the world U19s go to Ireland in 2020.