Behind a solid effort from all players, Canada defeated Austria 2-1 to finish 7th at the Champions’ Challenge II in Vienna. Canada started the same line-up, but for Kaitlyn Williams earning her first start in goal and Dani Hennig drawing in for an injured Di Roemer.
Canada dominated most of the game, particularly the first several minutes. They earned Penalty Corners at 3′ and 5′, but were unable to finish. Austria’s only Penalty Corner of the first half (at 14′) was ineffectual. After a save by goalkeeper Williams at 25′, Canada moved quickly down field, earning another Penalty Corner. After Gillis (pullout) to Flexman (stop), a strong Steph Jameson drive to the far post was superbly tipped by Jess Walkey, giving Canada a 1-0 lead. Just two minutes later, Jameson just missed on another Penalty Corner drive. The Austrian goalie was forced to make another save at 33′, followed quickly by another Canada PC, with the Austrian goalie saving yet another Steph Jameson shot. After another Canadian shot was saved at 34′, Canada was unfortunate not to have a more substantial lead at the half.
Canada also began the second half strongly, earning yet another Penalty Corner at 39′. A fine Katie Baker lay-off shot was saved by the goalkeeper, but Jess Walkey pounced on the rebound, earning both hers and Canada’s second goal. Canada continued to force the play, earning their seventh PC at 46′, with the Austrian goalie forced to save a fine Tyla Flexman shot. Just three minutes later, Austria managed to gain the circle, but a strong tackle by Steph Jameson thwarted their effort.
However, at 56′ an Austrian Penalty Corner resulted in their lone goal, with the ball sliding under a sprawling Kaitlyn Williams. The game continued somewhat evenly, with Canada forced to defend after a Dani Hennig Green Card at 62′. A strong Kate Gillis run down the right sideline and clever dribbling in the Austrian corner kept them from threatening. After another Kaitlyn Williams save at 63′, Austria’s last Penalty Corner shot was deflected wide. Canada earned successive Penalty Corners at 65′ and 66′ with one shot wide and the second stopped by the goalkeeper. Austria was given a Green Card at this time, allowing Canada to run out the clock and preserve the victory.
Thus Canada finishes 7th, not the placing they had hoped and taking little consolation that Chile, whom they beat, is in the ¾ playoff. However, all their losses were by only one goal. Valuable experience was gained by a very young team (apologies to #32 and #8) which will only bode well for their future.
Starting line-up – K. Williams, S. Jameson, S. Smith, D. Hennig, A. Raye, K. Baker, T. Flexman, K. Wishart, K. Gillis, J. Walkey, T. Culley.
Substitutes – S. McManus, K. Collison, M. Dickinson, C. O’Hara, H. Haughn.
DNP – K. Williams, D. Roemer.