Last match of the day promised to be exciting, between Canada, ranked 2nd in the competition, and Chile, ranked just behind them in 3rd. Canada were not too impressive against Brazil on opening day, while Chile were idle because of the delay to the Trinidad & Tobago team.
First opportunity was for Canada on a penalty-corner, but Scott Tupper’s powerful flick was coolly saved by Adrian Henriquez in the Chilean goal. Dave Carter was also called into action in the Canadian goal, with a good reflex save on a deflection from close range. Canada earned another penalty-corner after an effective run on the left wing by Ben Martin, but the Chilean keeper was again on the ball with a clean glove save.
Canada were finally rewarded for their hard work in the 21st minute, when Matthew Guest scored from close range, his 2nd goal of the competition, proving that he has well recovered from his nasty injury sustained during the World League in Paris. Canada increased their lead on a similar play a few minutes later by Matthew Sarmento, to establish a more comfortable 2-goal cushion.
Canada had a series of penalty-corners in the final minute of the period, but the Chilean defense read well Scott Tupper’s variations and the score stayed at 2-0 in favor of Canada going into the break.
Second period started with a lengthy stoppage of play after a hard head-on collision between two players, and it took a while for the two teams to find back their tempo. Canada were quicker into the saddle, with a chance for Dave Jameson after good work by Mark Pearson on the right of the circle, but the shot was too soft to worry the keeper. Chile had a chance at the other end when a bouncing ball eluded two Canadian defenders and reached a Chilean forward alone in the circle, forcing Dave Carter to stand tall to thwart the shot from very close range.
Canada continued their misfortunes on penalty-corner and could not increase their lead. With 20 minutes left in the game, Chile started to press higher. They took advantage of a 2-men advantage after cards were handed to Canadians and scored by Sven Richter, then immediately after by Jose Zirpel on penalty-stroke, to come back level 2-2 with 14 minutes left in the game, setting up a torrid end of game!
Richard Hildreth had a superb opportunity when he was set-up alone in the circle by Iain Smythe, but he hesitated to take his chance and the defenders had time to close on him. Canada were all over the Chilean circle in the final 5 minutes of play, and even had another chance on penalty-corner, but the Chilean defense was well regrouped to protect their goal and were soon celebrating their good start in the competition.
Canada on the other hand were dejected to have dropped their 2-goal lead and can certainly regret their numerous fruitless penalty-corners.
You can watch the game on demand here.
Canada has two days off before a game vs. Trinidad and Tobago on August 14 at 7pm EST.