Field Hockey Canada > 2018 U18 Field Hockey Nationals – July 19: Semi-final shootouts set up dramatic medal rounds

Quebec and Ontario CW advance to finals after intense day of competition


It was a Thursday afternoon and the highly-anticipated semi-finals were about to go down after a morning of consolation matches. First up: a rematch of the Alberta versus Quebec game that saw Quebec win 4-0 in the pool stages. However, it was safe to say that Alberta would not go down without a fight. Quebec took the early lead in the 11th minute but was kept at bay until the second half, where they scored four more times. At the final whistle, Quebec had won 5-1 and was first to book their ticket to the finals.

Quebec forward Daniel Nahir, who celebrated his birthday along with the victory and moves on to his first finals at Nationals, attributed the team’s success to their ability to work together.

“It was a great game and we played really hard,” he said. “I think the core aspect of our team was just passing and not being selfish with the ball. We try to think of ourselves not as individuals, but as a group with a common goal.”

Two hours later, an intense matchup between Ontario CW and BC Rams took place at Pitch Two as games resumed. The match stayed tied all throughout with a penalty stroke given for both teams only three minutes apart. Both were successful. The tie meant that the game would end with a shootout, in which Ontario CW was able to take advantage of after BC failed to score in three of their chances. Ontario CW would join Quebec in the finals with a 3-1 SO win in what is considered to be one of the most action-packed games during the 2018 National Championships.

Ontario CW Captain Ganga Singh had no doubt in his mind that if they stuck to the plan and had their minds set on the win, they would be through to the next round.

“We were extremely nervous [leading up to the shootout],” he said. “But our coach, Zeeshan [Minhas], reassured us and told us we could do it. He works really hard for us and eventually brought us to the final so I’m thankful.”

BC Rams, who weren’t as lucky, now face Alberta in the bronze medal match. Defender Aaron Foong thought the team played very well despite the loss, and is looking forward to focusing his efforts on the next game.

“Against Ontario, we controlled most of the game but unfortunately one thing we lacked was the finish; we couldn’t put the ball in the net and that’s what happened. We lost today, but we can still go out tomorrow and show that we can play really good hockey.”

The U18 Men’s bronze medal match starts at 11:30am EDT while the gold medal match begins at 1:30pm. Don’t miss out as the U18 competition wraps up tomorrow evening with the presentation of the medals.


BRONZE 11:30am: BC Rams vs Alberta

GOLD 1:30pm: Quebec vs Ontario Central West

Shootout thriller leads to an all-BC final in the women’s U18 division


When Alissa Wong stepped over the ball as the first Rams shooter in their semi-final shootout, she said she took the time to breathe and calm herself down. “I just tell myself, ‘I can do this,’ then I relax and rely on my abilities,” she said. “It feels so good to score and do my part for the team.”

Wong fired in her shootout goal which led to a 3-0 BC Rams shootout victory over Ontario West after the game finished 0-0. Bubli Chohan, the coach of the BC Rams, said having a tight semi-final matchup that ended in a shootout is a valuable learning and growing opportunity for the athletes.

“It was a fantastic experience for the players. It was a tight marking game where everything counts, he said. “In these type of games, it’s crunch time. Any team can beat any team.”

Chohan, third on the all-time men’s Canadian caps charts, is no stranger to big moments. He’s been coaching for 15 years from provincial, club and international. His next task to guide the Rams to an undefeated 2018 National Championship gold medal.

“I’m really proud at how the team laid it on the line in today’s semi-final. All these games are stepping stones and tomorrow’s gold medal game is the final one.”

Standing in his way is another international veteran and long-time coach Ali Baggott. The Victoria native is coaching the Vancouver Island-based BC Stags. They took down the BC Lions in their provincial bloodbath semi-final. In a game that saw three lead changes, Baggott said she’s very proud of how the team stayed resilient and played the final whistle.

“We have been working really hard all tournament to start games strong and I think we did that today. To stay in it for the whole game, it was a real character win.”

The Rams and Stags met in pool play with the Rams taking the 2-0 victory. Looking forward to the finals, Baggott’s words were short but they got the message across. She knows her team is capable and she knows it won’t be easy.

“The hardest wins are the best wins.”

Janet Dawson, a member of the Stags, scored the game-tying marker in the 53rd minute of the Stags’ semi-final on a beautiful set piece penalty corner. Dawson currently has a bronze and silver medal from the past two nationals and she’s looking for the gold tomorrow. She cites the team’s chemistry as a major contributor to their success thus far.

“We know we are underdogs and we have a lot of fire,” she said. “We’ve really come together throughout the tournament on and off the field. And now everything is clicking.”

Baggott echoes Dawson’s sentiment and says because the team is geographically removed from the rest of the province, it adds that extra ounce of cohesion that might be enough to bring a gold medal to Vancouver Island.

“We’re very proud to represent the island. I think that extra fuel behind the fire will give us an edge tomorrow.”

The women’s bronze medal match pins the BC Lions against Ontario West. The Lions will be looking to make it a podium sweep for the province and Ontario West will have their eye on the bronze medal to make up for their heartbreaking shootout semi-final loss.


BRONZE 9:45am: BC Lions vs Ontario West

GOLD 3:15pm: BC Rams vs BC Stags