Long wait over for Sanderson

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

For Canadian lacrosse goalie Chris Sanderson, the third world championship on home turf was finally the charm.

The 32-year-old Orangeville native, competing in his third world field lacrosse championships this week in London, finally bagged his first gold medal after two previous frustrating losses in the championship game.

"In our small world of lacrosse, this is a big moment to beat the U.S.," a satisfied Sanderson said. "Some of us were here in 1998 when we lost a heartbreaker in overtime and some more of us were year in 2002 when we lost to a bunch of college kids so to beat the U.S. with their best team and play a good game means a lot."

In 2002, the Major Lacrosse League wouldn't release its players to compete at the worlds in Perth, Australia, so a scaled-down Canada lost that one to a decimated American roster.

Early in the game, it didn't look like Sanderson had much luck on his side when he fumbled a possession and allowed U.S. sniper Ryan Powell to score on a rare open net for a 3-1 lead. But the Canadian goalie shook it off, got his one gaffe out of the way early and made some big saves to became only the second goalie to beat the Americans.

"In lacrosse, you learn to get past a mistake like that real quickly," he said. "It was just one goal and I was getting ready to throw it upfield and it just slipped out on me. I'll blame the wetness of my gloves and the shaft of my stick on that one. I switched my gloves at half and it made a difference."

Sanderson admitted the steady rain made it difficult to handle the ball and both teams didn't face the easiest conditions as the downpour continued until the fourth quarter.

"The rain doesn't help, that's for sure," he said. "But we managed to do a great job on defence -- you have to hand it to our guys playing against their attackers -- and we were able to make some timely saves and get the ball moving in the other direction. When we scored, Geoff Snider won the faceoffs and we grabbed possession back so that makes a world of difference."

It all adds up to the best defensive performance -- 10 goals -- against an American team in the history of the tournament.

Sanderson wasn't even in there for double digits. With Canada comfortably in front, he was pulled in favour of fellow Orangeville native and understudy Kyle Miller, who allowed the final U.S. goal.


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