Canada was looking for a second win after clearly defeating Italy (9-0), while Poland were looking for redemption after their narrow loss to France (1-2). Both teams were immediately in action in a physical start of game, Canada were more collectively threatening while the Poles were relying on the dashes of their captain Dariusz RACHWALSKI to push the game up field.
Canada had an opportunity on penalty-corner but Scott TUPPER’s low flick was deflected wide. Poland opened the scoring on the next play, Mateusz POLTASZEWSKI diving to deflect the ball out of reach of David CARTER in the Canadian goal.
With two minutes to go in the period, Poland added a goal after a wild scramble in front of the Canadian goal and things started to look grim for Canada. They however to pull back a goal by Iain SMYTHE, with 5 seconds left on the clock, after patient preparatory work by veterans Ken PEREIRA and Rob SHORT.
Canada earned a penalty-corner early in second period after a free hit swiftly played, but their option fizzled. The match was an entertaining display of hockey, the two teams displaying excellent individual skills and rigorous structure, and danger was shifting rapidly from one end to the other. Both goal-keepers were called into action with shots or deflections from close range, but the score did not evolve until the 55th minute, when Sukhwinder “Gabbar” SINGH managed to extract the ball from a scramble to push it in goal, tying the score at 2-2.
Having come back from a two-goal deficit, Canada had the opportunity to jump into the lead with two more penalty-corners, but they could not control them. Both teams pushed hard to break the deadlock in the final minutes of play, and Dariusz RACHWALSKI grabbed the winner with a penalty-corner forced in the final seconds of the match.
Player of the Match was Mariusz CHYLA, goal-keeper of Poland.
Rogier TRIP earned his first International Cap for Canada in this match.
Both teams opened the competition with a draw, India against Ukraine (1-1) and Canada against Italy (2-2), and were in need of a win today to maintain alive their hope of reaching the Final next Saturday.
Stephanie JAMESON was honored before the match for earning her 164th International Cap and becoming the highest capped player for the Canadian team.
Pushed by the local crowd, the Indian women immediately besieged the Canadian circle and Azelia LIU in goal was called into action early. A long solitary run by Anuradha Devi THOKCHOM earned India a penalty-corner, well defended by Canada. The Indians were however successful on their second penalty-corner by Soundarya YENDALA, on hand on the far post to redirect the initial shot. Rani RAMPAL added a goal soon after, running on the back line and lifting the ball from a difficult angle over the diving goal-keeper.
Azelia LIU was multiplying the saves, including on a spectacular one-on-one with an Indian forward, but could not prevent Sushila Chanu PUKHRAMBAM to score a third goal from the top of the circle after a penalty-corner option that seemed to fizzle. India went into the half-time break with this comfortable 3-goal lead, and things looked grim for Canada, who had yet to challenge the Indian defense.
Canada started the second period more determined, pressing higher on the Indian midfield and defense to prevent them from launching their running game. They seemed to have the upper hand for a while, but India increased their tally on a counter-attack, Amerada Devi THOKCHOM unleashing a stunning shot in the top corner of the Canadian goal. Canada maintained their pressure and were rewarded for their efforts in the final minute, when Hannah HAUGHN emerged from a scramble with the ball and pushed it in goal.
The Canadian women looked overwhelmed by the atmosphere and the whirlwind of Indian attacks at the beginning of the match, but recovered well and held their ground firmly later in the match, challenging high on the pitch. They would have deserved a closer result for their strong second period.
Player of the Match was Asunta LAKRA of India.