With the United States (3-0-1) having already earned a berth in Saturday’s final at the 2014 Indoor Pan American Cup, Canada’s men’s indoor national team also punched their ticket to the final match with a 4-0 victory over their North American rival Thursday in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The cross-border encounter, as always, proved to be a great match up. Led by standout performances from goalkeeper Shankar Premakanthan (Scarborough, Ont.), who earned the shutout, and a two-goal effort from Scott Sandison (Mississauga, Ont.), Canada (3-0-0) moved into a tie first place and secured a spot in the final.
Premakanthan was forced to be sharp early as the first chance of the game came quickly. The States earned a penalty corner and Thomas Krauss was denied.
The Canadians opened the scoring in the 4th minute with a goal from Sandison. Veteran Ken Pereira sent the ball into Jonathan Roberts, who has scored four times this tournament and lured the American defenders in before passing to Sandison, who beat U.S. keeper Kevin Segeren for the first goal of the game.
Micah Teixeira was the next to add one to the scoreboard. Teixeira received a pass from captain Pereira after an overlapping ran and nailed one into the back of the net beating Segeren to make it 2-0.
Sandison then added his second of the night in the seventeenth minute on another wonderful pass from Pereira who threaded the ball through two American defenders. Sandison, all alone in front, beat Segeren to give Canada a three-goal lead heading into the half.
The second half saw tight play by both teams with neither wanting to give an inch. Premakanthan had his work cut out for him, making a number of brilliant saves. JaJa Kentwell was uncontested in front, but once again Premakanthan made a heroic save to keep the Americans off the board.
Canada went down to the three men after Jeewanjoth Bath (Brampton, Ont.) was given a yellow card and with the man advantage, the U.S. started pressuring. If it wasn’t for a great stick save by Sandison, the States would have finally got on the board.
The Canadians got an insurance marker in the thirtieth minute as Devohn Noronha Teixeira (Mississauga, Ont.). Teixeira powered down the court with the ball before taking on goalie Jason Wellings, who came in in relief of Segeren, and slid one in off the backboard.
The U.S. pulled their goalie late to add an extra-attacker and continued the pressure, but Premakanthan continued to stand tall and earned his second shutout of the tournament.
Canada defeated the States 4-0 and clinched a berth into Saturday’s final against the Americans (2:30pm PST/5:30pm EST). The winner of the match goes to the 2015 Indoor World Cup in Germany next February.
“We competed and we scored a lot of our goals on the run of the play because the pressure we employed today worked,” says Canadian head coach Louis Mendonca. “In fairness to the U.S. sat out many of their better players for long periods because they had already qualified for the finals. However it wasn’t as easy as it looked. Shankar Premakanthan had to make at least half a dozen very good saves.”
View the full match sheet here.
Canada will take on Argentina in its final game of the round robin Friday at 2:30pm PST/5:30pm EST. Watch the live stream here.
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Written with files from Carla Johl
Photo by Blair Shier