Yuki Fukushima Backstops Japan Men's Sixes in Thrilling Bronze Medal Game

PHOTO COURTESY OF WORLD LACROSSE


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — One of the fan-favorite men’s Sixes teams at The World Games has come seemingly out of nowhere to capture the bronze medal.

Japan, with its sharp shooting and speedy transition play, topped Great Britain 19-18 in overtime Tuesday night in front of a full fan section at PNC Field. In doing so, it showcased to a global audience that the nation is firmly affixed in the conversation of lacrosse powers, at least as it pertains to the new Sixes discipline.

Both Japan and Great Britain traded blows in the opening quarter, and they entered the second period tied at 6. Japan had the upper hand in the second eight-minute stanza, jumping to a 12-9 lead at halftime.

Japan maintained a three-goal lead at the end of the third quarter, up 15-12 thanks to a last-second save from Yuki Fukushima. But Great Britain came out strong in the fourth quarter and eventually knotted the score at 17 apiece.

Tomoki Umehara scored his second with 2:03 remaining in the game for an 18-17 Japan lead. A save by Fukushima on the ensuing Great Britain possession was a momentum swing, as Japan called timeout with 1:42 left to strategize its final moments. Another save by Fukushima with 1:20 left got the crowd roaring.

Ryan Hunns netted the equalizer with 40 seconds remaining after a Japan crease violation, and Great Britain got the ball back with 20 seconds left after a missed shot by Japan. With 13.6 seconds left, Great Britain called a timeout to draw up the final shot. They got a look at the doorstep. Fukushima stuffed the attempt again.

In Sixes, a four-minute overtime period is decided by golden goal.

Then, the sticks were flung into the air. Hiroki Kanaya found Kazuki Obana on the doorstep for his fourth goal of the game, sealing an improbable run to bronze.







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