Field Hockey Canada > 2018 U18 Field Hockey Nationals – July 18: Moving day in Toronto sets up semi-final matches

U18 Men burst onto quarterfinal stage on day two of competition

After cancelled practices due to thunderstorms and one day of pool play, the U18 men’s division was anything but slow and uneventful. Day two kicked off early in the morning as Ontario CW took on Alberta in a match that ended in a 4-3 win for Alberta. An hour later, Ontario E and USA met for a 4-1 Ontario E win. Playing out on the other field was Quebec vs. BC Lions, in which Quebec won 4-0 to qualify automatically for the semi-finals. For the other teams, however, an afternoon of quarterfinal matches awaited.

First on the clock was a classic BC versus BC setup: Lions against the Rams. After an early 10th minute goal from the BC Rams, the Lions were quick to bounce back and scored twice shortly after. However, that wasn’t enough to take the game. The Rams would go on to win 3-2 after the Lions defence was left exposed late in the 53rd and 55th minutes.

BC Rams Manager Alex Bale said that there were many challenges in the group stages considering that they didn’t know who exactly they were facing, particularly with the American team. However, the BC matchup was far from the case.

“The boys know each other pretty well and they’ve played several warm-up matches [against each other],” he said. “These kinds of matchups are always difficult, but it’s very motivational for both teams to play against people they know. They always put an extra 10 per cent in.”

Quebec and the BC Rams would soon find out their opponents later in the evening. An eager Alberta team emerged onto Pitch Two to face Ontario E, a team that had put up a definitive win against the US earlier. The match was nothing short of action-packed: four green cards and two yellow cards later, the teams were tied 2-2 at the 62nd minute. Before the thought of having a penalty shootout could come to mind, Alberta notched another goal in the 64th and two more in the next six minutes for a 5-2 win.

Shazab Butt, the Alberta forward who scored the last two goals to secure the victory, said that despite their pool-play loss to Quebec, they are really looking forward to an elimination-round rematch.

Butt said, “It’s been a hard competition. Now, we’re just looking forward to the semi-finals and learning to improve from our loss against Quebec. We took them a little easy before and we shouldn’t have. I know they’re going to come out hard, and we’re going to come out hard too.”

On the other side of the bracket, taking on BC, is Ontario CW after they defeated USA 2-1. USA came back with a late goal in the 61st minute to keep the Ontario CW side on edge, something that Head Coach Zeeshan Minhas wants to work on going forward in the competition.

“We feel good of course, but we’re in the knockout rounds,” Minhas said. “We need to keep our composure, stay disciplined, and keep working hard so we can make it to the gold medal match.”

Tomorrow, the Quebec vs. Alberta and BC Rams vs. Ontario CW semi-final matches will unfold at the U of T Back Campus Fields at 11:30am and 1:30pm respectively. Consolation matches for 5-8th place begin at 8:00am.

BC heavily represented in U18 Women’s semi-finals

U18 - July 18 Story_-2

Two days of pool play complete and BC sits in a commanding position in the U18 division. All three of the BC provincial teams have qualified for semi-finals, guaranteeing them at least two medals and potentially setting up a podium sweep. The lone-remaining squad staring down the entire province of BC is Ontario West.

The last round of play tonight pitted Ontario West in a do-or-die game against PEI. More than that, they had to outdo Ontario Central’s goal differential if they wanted a hope to advance. Pitch-side, you could feel the electricity as both Ontario teams knew they were fighting for their lives. Sure enough, Ontario West potted 11 goals against PEI covering the spread. All they could do was wait for the Lions/Central clash to wrap up. Sure enough, the Lions beat Ontario Central 2-1 setting up a tie for second which West came out on top of via point differential.

The BC Lions put on a thumping performance in their A pool matchups defeating PEI, Quebec, Ontario W and Ontario C carrying a +27-goal differential and finishing first in the pool. In pool B, the BC Rams and BC Stags advance to the semis comfortably ousting Ontario East and Alberta.

Chris Tyrell, head coach of the BC Lions, said that despite winning their pool, they felt like underdogs coming into the tournament. An environment the team has embraced and thrived in.

“I think we saw the two Ontario teams in our pool that were supposed to finish at the top, but we just improved every game and carried that momentum,” he said. ”

With the win, the Lions have booked a date with the BC Stags, a Vancouver Island-based squad, in the semi-finals. Tyrell addressed the fact that having three BC teams represented in the semis is a testament to the FHBC programming and hard work.

“It’s a proud day for the province for sure,” he said. “It’s a really good generation coming through BC right now. There’s a lot of depth.”

The Lions are a geographic melange with the majority of players coming from the Lower Mainland, a handful from Vancouver Island and one athlete from Trail. Tyrell said his squad will continue to embrace their underdog mentality as they take on the Stags from Vancouver Island tomorrow.


Courtney Watson

Ottawa, Ontario

How did you first get into umpiring?

I grew up in Calgary and I learned from Keely Dunn, who was one of the umpire managers. My coach was encouraging everyone to take an umpiring course so I tried it, and I’ve stuck with it since.

Why Nationals?

The level of field hockey is amazing. It’s fun to see the different teams from all different provinces and it’s also a really good learning experience as an umpire because you get to work with umpires and umpire managers from all across the country.

What do you think is the most valuable about youth sports?

It’s really fun seeing how everyone works as a team and deals with setbacks when things don’t go their way.

Favourite TV Show?

The Office.

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Pambavasan Manikandan

Mississauga, Ontario

How did you first get into umpiring?

I was a player back in India and from there, I started umpiring when I was in college. It gives me more joy being an umpire than a player, which is great.

Why Nationals?

I played at Nationals back in India and I wanted to explore field hockey a bit more in Canada. I actually applied to be an umpire last year but didn’t make the cut, so getting the position this time means all that much more to me.

What do you think is the most valuable about youth sports?

The calibre of the players and the style they play is better than just watching club tournaments. They know what they’re doing and both the coaches and players have been good.

Favourite thing about Toronto?

The CN Tower.