SANTA ANA, Calif. -- The USA Men's Senior National team edged Canada 8-7 to clinch a berth at the 2014 FINA World Cup. The match played at the Santa Ana YMCA saw the United States take the decisive game in a best of three series a day after falling 10-9 to Canada. Bret Bonanni (Huntington Beach, CA/Stanford/Stanford) scored three goals to lead the offense and goalkeeper McQuin Baron (North Tustin, CA/Mater Dei HS/United) made his first start for the Senior National Team recording nine saves in the victory.
The first period was a quiet one for both offenses as just one goal was scored. Canada's best chance to score came on a penalty shot with 6:43 to play and Baron stepped up to block the shot. A little over two minutes later Nolan McConnell (Laguna Beach, CA/Long Beach State/SET) went bar-in from the outside for a 1-0 lead after the first period.
Scoring picked up in the second period with Canada scoring on its first possession of the period to even the game at 1-1. Bonanni came back with two straight goals in the span of a minute to put the United States ahead 3-1 with 6:27 left in the quarter. Canada countered with a power play goal at the 2:37 mark in the period and would trail 3-2 at intermission.
Baron came up with a big block on a Canada counter attack late in the first half and did it again to open the third period keeping the lead at one goal. The Canadians would break through with two straight goals and grabbed their first lead of the game at 4-3 with 2:47 remaining in the period. Alex Bowen (Santee, CA/Stanford/Stanford) scored his first goal of the game on a power play with a minute to play in the period evening the match at 4-4 headed to the fourth.
John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California/NYAC) scored on an outside shot to open the fourth and Bonanni followed with a power play goal for a 6-4 lead with just under five minutes to play. Canada scored on their next possession but Bowen responded with a power play strike for a 7-5 lead with 3:51 left in the match. Canada hung tough scoring two straight goals to even the match at 7-7 with 2:30 remaining. The difference maker would come at the 2:05 mark as Mann gathered up a rebound on a shot from Danny McClintick (Agoura Hills, CA/UCLA/Bruin) miss and stuffed it past the keeper for an 8-7 lead with 2:05 to play. Canada drew a power play late in the game but was unable to convert and the United States came away winners at 8-7.
Team USA went 3-for-13 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty while Canada was 5-for-11 on power plays and 0-for-1 on penalty shots.
Canada vs. USA
USA Goals: Bret Bonanni 3, Alex Bowen 2, John Mann 2, Nolan McConnell
USA Saves: McQuin Baron 9