On Sunday, the Iroquois Nationals staged a valiant comeback against Canada in the World Lacrosse Championships, but ultimately the Native team's effort fell short. At halftime, the Nationals were down 6-1, but heroics throughout the second half brought the game to an 8-8 tie. A late goal by Canada ended the Nationals' hopes, but the game might be remembered more for a bit of improvisation by Lyle Thompson that stunned the announcers and TV viewers.
It happened early in the 4th quarter against Brodie Merrill, a six-time MLL defenseman of the year. Thompson, with the ball, approached Canada's crease from the left side and seemed to lose his footing. With the stick in his left hand and the fingertips of his right glove nearly on the turf, Thompson stood up, yanked the stick behind his back and transferred it to his right hand — without losing the ball. He then whipped a right-handed shot at the goal, but missed. The sportscasters were shocked
"Behind his back! Oh my gosh!" said one. The other asked, "Are you kidding me? That is ridiculous!" The report at NLL.com called the maneuver "one of the most creative and spectacular moves in recent memory."
While the announcers paused to gush over his creativity during an instant replay, Thompson was taking care of business on the field, scoring on a backhanded shot.
Tonight, at 8 PM Eastern (note: this is an updated start time, due to rain delay) on ESPN U, the Iroquois Nationals take on the USA. Will we see this kind of wizardry from Thompson again?