Team Canada scored five goals in the fourth quarter to outlast Team USA in the "Duel in Denver" on Saturday, an exhibition game between the best-of-the-best in field lacrosse from both nations.
The game was a rematch of the 2010 Federation of International Lacrosse championship, which the States won 12-10 and likely sets the tone for the next world championships, slated for 2014 in Denver.
Team Canada's attack was paced by Curtis Dickson, who plays for the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League in the winters. Roughnecks' teammate Geoff Snider, also a University of Denver alumnus, started at midfield for Team Canada and took all of the faceoffs for the Canadian side.
Another University of Denver alumnus, Mark Matthews, added a goal on five shots for the Canadian side.
Matthews, one of the best young players coming out of college, just finished his first season with the Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse, scoring 28 points. He is expected to be taken as the first overall pick for the Edmonton Rush in the NLL's upcoming entry draft.
Team USA was led by Paul Rabil, who collected a goal and two assists. Rabil, a perennial All-Star in both the NLL and the MLL, is generally considered to be one of the top lacrosse players on the planet in both the indoor and outdoor games.
As a showcase for lacrosse, the "Dual in Denver" gave the best players in North America a chance to shine in a format that promotes the sport at the very top level. The rematch of the 2010 FIL final gave the top two squads on the planet an opportunity to reset the world stage, provide a preview of what is to come for the 2014 championships and also showed off the talent that both the MLL and NLL have to offer their fans.
Unfortunately, what it hasn't done is give the sport more media exposure.
Aside from the 4,582 fans in attendance and a handful of lacrosse fans and players around the world, very few people even heard about the game.
Coming on the same weekend that the NFL is getting underway for a fresh season, the Duel flew under the radar and missed a golden opportunity to bring some outstanding exposure to a sport which is growing by leaps and bounds in participation, but remains virtually unknown to most sports fans.
Considering the level of entertainment value that lacrosse brings, that's a real shame.
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