After a day of rest, the Irish and Canadian hockey teams took the pitch for the final game of their three match series. A 7:30pm start meant a day of preparation as well as a crowd full of Irish supporters.
Canada came out hard from the beginning, applying intense pressure resulting in Irish turnovers. The increasing tenacity of the Canadian attack was evident as the first half wore on.
The Irish team, however, showed no signs of defeat and off a quick break netted the first goal of the game. Canadian kept the heat on with their attacking pressure, leading to a wave of circle penetrations.
The young Canucks worked hard, pestering the home team’s defense and were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty corner. Hannah Haughn made no mistake and gracefully deflected Karli Johansen’s drag flick to the bottom left corner of the net, tying the match to one apiece.
As the first half wore on, yet another strong, Canadian attack was generated, ultimately resulting in a short corner. Once again, Johansen lined up for the flick and this time scored the goal herself to give Canada a 2-1 lead.
Despite this early lead, Ireland continued to pressure the Canadian team. They were rewarded for their effort with the equalizing goal, as the ball was volleyed out of the air into the net. With the score now 2-2, Canada regrouped and regained some possession.
Key saves from Kaitlyn Williams and masterful outletting by players such as Sara McManus led to a pivotal play with just over a minute remaining in the half. Midfielder Abi Raye distributed a precision pass to centre forward Kate Gillis, who delicately tipped the ball past the Irish keeper to give Canada the 3-2 advantage leading into halftime.
The second half began with fierce attacks and shifts in momentum. It was Canada, however, who were able to produce another short corner. Yet again, Johansen executed a superb drag flick resulting in a 4-2 edge.
Despite the increased deficit, Ireland continued to apply intense pressure. For their efforts, the Green Army were rewarded with a short corner of their own. The ball was placed into the back of the net off a rebound, resulting in Ireland’s third goal of the game.
The second half wore down, and, with less than a minute left, the experienced Irish team drew one last penalty corner. After a mad scramble, the home team was able to score with no time remaining. The teams played to 4-4 tie to end the series.
You can look through photos from game three HERE.
Canada ended the series with a 1-1-1 record. This is a very impressive result given the youth and ranking of the Canadian squad. The team was happy with their performance, tenacity and level of compete throughout the entire series.
Canada rests up before resuming play against Wales on Friday June 28. They have four games (3 against Wales and 1 against Scotland) remaining on tour.