Field Hockey Canada > Canada's Juniors bring home silver

Canada’s Juniors bring home silver

September 24, 2012 | Field Hockey Canada |

After two weeks of competition at the 2012 Pan American Junior Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico – the Men’s and Women’s Junior National Teams walk away with berths to the 2013 Junior World Cup and well-earned silver medals. 

The Junior Women put up a fight against Argentina in the final match on Saturday.  With a 0 – 0 scoreline at half-time, the second half was a gritty battle for scoring opportunities.  Argentina took the lead in the final 26 minutes after converting on a penalty corner.  10 minutes and a penalty corner later, the Leoncitas had gained a solid 2 – 0 lead.  Karli Johansen‘s goal in the 66th minute put Canada on the score board, but Argentina was able to maintain solid defence in the final minutes of the match.  The final score (ARG 2 – 1 CAN) earned Argentina the gold while Canada claimed silver.  This was Canada’s best finish at the Pan American Junior Championship since earning silver in 1997.

“I am so proud of this team – they fought so hard,” says Head Coach Peter Milkovich.  “We delivered our best game on the biggest night; it just wasn’t enough against one of the top two teams in the world.  We will get better in time – it will come.”

The Women’s Junior National Team has proven their ability to compete with the best teams in the world – and they look forward to taking the international stage once again at the 2013 Junior World Cup. 

On Sunday, Canada’s Junior Men also faced long-time rival Argentina in their final match of the Pan American Junior Championship.  The Canadians took an early lead with Gordon Johnston‘s goal in the 15th minute.  Canada maintained the lead for the majority of the first half, but Argentina scored a last-minute field goal to even the score board.  The Junior Men came out very strong in the second half, reclaiming the lead with a field goal by James Kirkpatrick in the first minute.  Argentina’s multiple attacks were thwarted by a strong Canadian defence.  After earning three consecutive penalty corners, Argentina evened the score to 2 – 2 in the 45th minute.  Another penalty corner five minutes later gave Argentina an opportunity to take the lead, and they did.  Despite incredible defence on Canada’s side, they were unable to generate additional scoring opportunities.  After a hard-fought battle, the match ended ARG 3 – 2 CAN, a silver finish for Team Canada.  Argentina remains undefeated at the Pan American Junior Championship, earning gold since 1978.  This was the Canadian Junior Men’s best performance since finishing second in 1985. 

 “It was a good game,” says Assistant Coach Aaron Guest.  “It’s disappointing, but it was a good effort by our boys.”

Congratulations to Kevin Pereira – named goal-keeper of the tournament.  

What’s next for the Junior Men?  As they return to Canada, some will join the Senior National Team for training and some will potentially be selected to compete at the Champions Challenge.  Others will focus solely on the Junior World Cup. 

“Hockey is definitely looking good for Canada,” says Guest.  “We are looking forward to the next 18 months.”