Heavy rain poured in Brussels as Team Canada Men faced Belgium for the third and final time. Canada surprised Belgium with a goal within the first five minutes, but was unable to maintain momentum throughout the match. Belgium took full advantage of their penalty corners and Team Canada’s frustration mounted. The final score was 3 – 1 for Belgium.
“We started pretty well in the first half, particularly in scoring the first goal of the game.” said Head Coach Robin D’Abreo. “However, from that point on our performance was inconsistent, with the second half being quite poor on both sides of the ball.”
“The quality of hockey in Europe is first class. This competition will only help prepare for the Pan American Games,” said Adam Froese (Abbotsford, BC). “We are working better together as a team, which will make a difference in Guadalajara.”
The match started well for Canada. In the 5th minute Canada made a strong entrance into the Belgium circle where Matthew Guest (Vancouver) redirected an excellent cross into the back of the net. This prompted Belgium to reassert their presence on the field, and in the 9th minute they used a penalty corner to send a drag flick straight into the top glove side of Canada’s goal.
In the 17th minute Canadian goal keeper Antoni Kindler (Vancouver) prevented Belgium from scoring on a short corner. Likewise, in the 29th minute the Belgium keeper kept Canada’s penalty corner shot out of the net. 3 minutes later Canada had another chance to score on a short corner, but the shot was wide.
Within the last minute of the first half, Belgium successfully executed a penalty corner, bringing the score to 2 – 1 for Belgium. Canada was not happy with the deficit, and play became tentative.
In the 53rd minute of the game Jesse Watson (North Vancouver) received a yellow card for Canada, giving Belgium more time with the ball. 6 minutes later Belgium earned a penalty corner. The shot was saved, but caused an additional short corner. This time the lethal Belgium short corner crew scored. Canada was now down 1 – 3.
Frustration set in, and in the 64th minute Scott Tupper (Vancouver) received the team’s second yellow card. Canada was unable to mount an attack, and the match ended 3 – 1 for Belgium; Canada’s third straight loss.
From here it’s on to the Netherlands to face Russia on Thursday.