In outstanding team performances today, the Canadian Men’s and Women’s Junior National Teams have qualified for the 2013 Junior World Cup and moved into the finals of the 2012 Pan American Junior Championships.
Canada’s Junior Women took the field against Chile early this afternoon. With the support of a loud Canadian fan section and a ticket to the Junior World Cup on the line – this team played with grit and determination. Holly Stewart scored the first goal of the match, but Chile quickly responded to even the score. With a 1 – 1 tie at halftime, the second half was up for grabs. A field goal by Jessica Buttinger just two minutes into the half gave Canada the edge. Caashia Karringten’s goal off a penalty corner in the 57th minute followed by a strong Canadian defense gave the Junior Women a solid win.
“When it comes time to execute – we’ve delivered,” says Karringten. “Under tremendous pressure in our last two games, we have managed to deliver the result we wanted. We are really proud of our efforts and are now focused on the final match.”
The Canadian Men’s Junior National Team also kept fans on their seats throughout the first half of their semi-final match against Chile. In the 5th minute, Chile took the lead after scoring on a penalty corner. Down 0 – 1, Canada maintained composure. After 20 minutes of patient pressure Canada earned their first penalty corner and evened the score. The first half ended 1 – 1.
“In the second half we put everything out there,” says Head Coach Mathias Ahrens. They certainly did.
Within the first 13 minutes, Canada took a commanding 5 – 1 lead. With a ticket to the Junior World Cup in sight, the men took no chances and sealed the deal with three consecutive goals between the 57th and 60th minute. Gordon Johnston pulled a hat-trick and Andrew Kanerva scored two goals for Canada.
“We got it done,” says Ahrens. “We played tough on the penalty corners. I am very proud of this team. This was our best performance so far, but we still have so much more to offer. We are ready to take on whoever we meet in the finals!”
The Women will compete in the final match on September 22 at 7:00pm local time in Guadalajara. The Men’s final match is on September 23 at 11:00am.
This is the first time the Canadian Women’s Junior National Team has made it to the final match of the Pan American Junior Championships since 1997. The Junior Men last competed in the finals at the 1985 Championships. The Women’s most recent appearance at the Junior World Cup was in 2005. The Men last qualified in 2001.