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The Canadian connection

 Owen Hiltz (77) attempts an over-the-shoulder shot in Syracuse’s 20-7 win over UAlbany
Owen Hiltz (77) attempts an over-the-shoulder shot in Syracuse’s 20-7 win over UAlbany

Finn Thomson, Owen Hiltz, and Alex Simmons are all pure goal scorers for Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse. The three players also share something else in common. All three are from Canada, where lacrosse is the country’s national sport.

Thomson grew up in Toronto and went to St. Michael’s College School for high school. Hiltz and Simmons went to Culver Academy and had experience playing with each other before arriving at Syracuse. All three have also had experience playing box lacrosse, an indoor version of the game.

“It’s pretty unique,” Simmons said. “I played with Owen [Hiltz] in high school, so we have some chemistry to build off of. Plus, with Finn being a righty, it’s pretty fun with that Canadian box background. We can kind of find each other…it brings me back to playing box in Ontario.”

Not only are Thomson, Hiltz, and Simmons Canadian, but so is Gary Gait, the head coach for Syracuse men’s lacrosse. With the four sharing similar backgrounds, Simmons notes that it makes this season a more enjoyable experience.

“I mean he’s the best to play the game,” Simmons said. “Obviously, what [Gait] says, we’re all ears. It’s pretty exciting and a dream come true for all three of us. The name Gait in Canada, even in the United States, is pretty big.”

The trio of Thomson, Hiltz, and Simmons has certainly taken Gait’s advice, and it has shown in practices.

“We’re waiting for execution on the field,” Gait said. “It’ll come, and I know it because I see those guys working together after practice and before practice. I’m just waiting for those no-look passes and skips.”

Even though not as flashy, Thomson, Hiltz, and Simmons have combined for six goals and eight assists so far this season. The Orange sit at 2-0, and for the three scorers, it’s just about playing freely.

“I think all three of us, the trio, just try to be happy,” Simmons said. “We have similar personalities and don’t try to bring too much seriousness.”