Game time in Malaysia was 8:00pm under the lights in Ipoh. It was Canada’s third match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament and they were up against the host Nation, 11th ranked team in the world and a team gearing up for the World Cup. The hometown crowd was large and noisy with continual singing, chanting, horn blowing, drum beating and flares being set off. The atmosphere was electric.
The game was intense and aggressive right from the first whistle. Both sides had great opportunities in the first couple of minutes. Malaysia had a fast break goal in the 4th minute of play. The Canadians were unfazed and continued to press and play with confidence. Malaysia earned a penalty corner in the 7th minute but it was shot wide. A Canadian penalty corner in the 14th minute was put in the back of the net by Adam Froese on a rebound. The game was tied. The game was feisty with players fighting for every ball.
Malaysia was on the attack at the start of the second half and earned a penalty corner that was deftly batted away. Not to be outdone, just a few minutes later, Canada had a great team build-up that led to a point blank shot by Hudson Stewart but unfortunately denied by the Malaysian keeper.
There was a flurry shots on net by teams. The game was a battle with players from both teams going in hard for tackles and holding their ground when in possession. Malaysia scored on a penalty corner deflection. Undeterred the Canadians continued to battle for the ball and they were rewarded with opportunities to score. The Malaysians had a penalty corner in the 51st minute that was deflected by captain Scott Tupper, the postman on defensive penalty corners.
The Malaysians were able to put one more goal in in the final 3 minutes. The game ended with a Canadian penalty corner that they were unable to convert. The score line was 3-1 for the Malaysians but the Canadians played well.
Canada played both goalies, Dave Carter in the first half and Antoni Kindler in the second.
Anthony Farry said about the game; “ We played very well today and were very unlucky not to get a result. Both teams were evenly matched which is a real positive for us as we were facing a team going to the World Cup. Considering we are in different phases of our program, we did very well to stay in the game to the very end. We can take a lot out of this game and use our lessons learned for the rest of the tournament”.
It is a rest day tomorrow for Canada and up next is against South Africa (March 19 at 6:05pm Ipoh time). This will be a must win for Canada against another team prepping to compete at the World Cup.