Field Hockey Canada > Men draw Russia in tournament opener

Men draw Russia in tournament opener

June 24, 2009 | Field Hockey Canada |

Canadian men open 4-Nations with a tie against Russia

June 24, 2009

On Wednesday afternoon, the Canadian men’s national field hockey team opened the 4-Nations Tournament in Elektrostal, Russia, with a tie against host Russia in front of a large home crowd.

 Photo: Yan Huckendubler

The two teams had met in an official test match on Monday, when Canada won a hard fought battle 3-2 against a Russian team in full preparation for the European competitions of the summer. It was only the second time these two teams had ever met, the initial encounter also ending in favor of Canada at the 1991 World Cup Qualifier in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Russians were more organized today, using aerial balls and fast breakaways to unsettle the Canadian defense. They opened the scoring early with a penalty-corner in the 6th minute. Canada managed to settle down and take better control of the game towards the end of the period and they were rewarded by a field-goal in the 19th minute by Gabbar Singh, cleverly taking advantage of a scramble in front of the goal.

Russia went ahead again in the 56th minute with a field goal coming from a fast breakaway after a turnover. The Canadians kept attacking and tied the score in the 65th minute by Richard Hildreth, well positioned to conclude a fast series of passes in front of the Russian net

Assistant Coach Shiv Jagday commented “There were some rookie mistakes, but we need to focus on the positive points in this game, such as our quality goal chances for Mark Pearson and Ben Martin. Keeping in mind the youth of the team, we played well, with heart and desire to excel”.

Connor Meakin, one of the young Canadian players, said “We really had a patchy start under the Russian pressure, holding our sticks too tight. We finally found our rhythm at the end of the first period, when we managed to tie the game. Our defensive structure was better in second period and we showed good heart to come back a second time on the scoreboard. All in all, it was good for this young team to finish with a tie in the first game of the tournament”.

In the other match of this 4-Nations tournament, an official FIH competition, South Africa overpowered Bangladesh (8-0). Action continues tomorrow Thursday in Elektrostal , with Canada playing South Africa and Bangladesh facing host Russia.