Field Hockey Canada > Canada hoping for one more magical match in Champions Challenge final

Just when you thought they had used everything in their bag of tricks, the Canadian Men’s National Team proved there was some magic left yet with a come from behind victory over host Malaysia (ranked no.13) Saturday at the 2014 Champions Challenge in Kuantan.

With the 3-2 victory (5-4 in the shootout), Canada (ranked no.16) advances to the Champions Challenge final for the first time in its history and the timing couldn’t be better.

“Confidence and belief,” says Canadian head coach Anthony Farry of the team’s mentality heading into the final match versus no.7 ranked Korea.

“Korea is a hugely talented side full of experience. They are fast, skillful and well drilled but we have showed in our last two games against them that we can match them.”

Canada tied Korea 3-3 in the first game of the tournament, which set off a run of games in which, each night, a different hero emerged for Canada.

In Saturday’s semi final there were plenty of candidates to choose from. After going down 2-0, it was team captain Scott Tupper (Vancouver, B.C.) who provided the offense, scoring two goals – his fourth and fifth of the tournament – to level the score.

“The performance from the guys today was immense,” adds Farry. “To be a player down for the match, 2-nil down after fifteen minutes, and also lose a player for ten minutes during the game makes it a substantial effort.”

“There’s a huge amount of fight in this group and that was evident tonight.”

It was evident not only during regulation time, when Canada once again came from behind, but also in the penalty shootout where Canada extended the game multiple times on goals from Gordon Johnston (Vancouver, B.C.) and Mark Pearson (Vancouver, B.C.), who each scored twice.

It was then up to Adam Froese (Abbotsford, B.C.) to score for the win and a berth in the tournament final.

“It was a combination of goals and saves from the other boys that set up that opportunity,” says Froese. “I was extremely nervous but managed to focus and shut out everything else as I lined up for the shot.”

“It’s not everyday you get to take opportunities like that in front of so many people.”

Froese’s goal was the highlight of a determined effort from the Canadians, who will undoubtedly be comfortable playing the Koreans, who downed Ireland (ranked no.15) 2-1 in the other semi final.

“The boys have showed all tournament that we are ready and determined,” continues Froese. “It is not going to be easy but we are going to give it everything we’ve got.”

And so far, what they have had has been magical.

Canada faces Korea in the tournament final on Sunday, May 4 at 6:30amPST/9:30am EST. Live updates available on FIH Twitter feed.

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