Team Manager Celia Plottel reports from the senior development squad’s first few days in Santiago, Chile, during the lead-up to the PAHF 4 Nations Tournament.
Friday, January 24
We are just back from our first match, playing a club team called Club Manquehue. We won 2-0. Goal scorers were Oliver Scholfield and Hudson Stewart. Kevin Pereira and Dave Carter shared duties in net for the shut-out. A good start after the long flight to get here.
Saturday, January 25
Canada started their first pre-tournament match against Chile excited and eager to play. For 12 of the 18-member squad, it was their first Senior National game on the international stage. Six members of the squad played in December at the Junior World Cup. Kevin Pereira started in net and within the first few minutes inspired the Canadians with an excellent save.
Canada found some energy and quickly attacked down the right side, forcing two quick Penalty Corners in the first 8 minutes. One was sent tantalizingly wide and the other was a broken play at the top. The players settled down and launched a team effort to keep the ball in the opposition’s end.
The play continued with attacks from both sides. The Chileans were awarded a penalty corner at the 13 minute mark which they converted on an excellent flick to the right of the keeper.
Canada was under pressure for the next part of the period but with inspired play by Matt Bissett on the forward line and Manvir Kingra in the defence was able to penetrate the circle on several occasions. Most notably, an excellent back handed attempt on goal by Arif Virjee. With 11 seconds to play in the half Chile was awarded a penalty stroke which was converted. The first half ended 2-0 for the Chileans.
The second half started with a quick goal by Chile and the Canadians were down 3-0.
Canada stormed back and scored 2 goals in the second half, the first goal by Matt Bissett and the second goal by Hudson Stewart after some great lead-up play.
Coach Anthony Farry said of the match, “This was a fantastic opportunity for our inexperienced squad to gain valuable international game time. It was very pleasing, after losing control in the middle portion of the game that we were able to regain our composure and put them under good pressure at the back end. We are really looking forward to the opportunity that this tournament presents and looking to make solid improvements every game.”
Sunday, January 26
Canada faced Chile again in their second pre-tournament match before the start of the 4 Nations Tournament.
The temperature in Santiago has been increasing with each day. The game was played under the hot afternoon sun, temperature was 30C. The team played three 20-minute periods.
Canada was under pressure from the start and had a hard time getting the ball out of their defensive end. Dave Carter made a couple of sensational saves and the team responded by regaining their composure. The team was rewarded with a back hand goal by James Kirkpatrick after a nifty 2-on-1 with Matt Sarmento in the 15th minute. 1-0 after the first period.
In the second period the team started rather sluggish and unstructured and had a hard time getting sustained control. The result was a penalty corner goal by the Chileans in the 25th minute. Canada improved their play and were rewarded with a couple of penalty corners but neither one went in. A Chilean penalty stroke was awarded and converted near the end of the period against the flow of play. 1-2 after second period of play.
The third period saw play continue with no team gaining the upper hand. Chile did manage a goal in the 48th minute and converted a goal on a penalty corner near the very end. The ame ended 1-4 for Chile.
According to Coach Farry, “It was an improved tactical performance today with us being able to put together some nice passages of play; however, too often we are putting ourselves under pressure with simple errors but this is all part of the learning process. We are looking forward to a rest day and starting the tournament against Mexico on Tuesday.”
“The experience and information this group has gained in the space of a couple of games, and will gain throughout this tournament, is invaluable to the long term objectives of our program.”
The PAHF 4 Nations Tournament begins on Tuesday, January 28.