On Friday (May 24th), West Vancouver FHC hosted Game #3 between Argentina’s U21 Team and Canada’s Senior Squad. After trading wins during Game #1 and Game #2, the “Rumble At Rutledge” was guaranteed to be a great battle between some of the best players on the continent. Both teams also enjoyed a cheering crowd, well in excess of 1000 people. Local Argentinian fans also lined the spectators area, dressed in baby-blue and waving their national flag.
The game was a fierce tactical battle, with the play ebbing and flowing both ways. Argentina’s backfield had a dominating performance for the entire 70-minute match, swinging the ball from side-to-side, challenging Canada’s defensive resolve. Some fantastic individual efforts by Gomes and Habif (#5 & #8 respectively) from Argentina delighted the crowd on numerous occasions. While the first half of play was dominated by quality Argentinian attack, Canada’s defense held strong, and only gave up an early goal on a defensive miscommunication. Argentina were the aggressors throughout the first half, dominating possession and creating numerical advanatages in attack. Canada relied on some clever counter-attack play to generate most of their offence, and were unfortunate on numerous occasions not to find an equalizing goal.
At halftime, 100+ younsters from West Vancouver FHC took to the field, and played mini-hockey, as both teams discussed tactics and took a well deserved break from the action.
The second half was far more even in possession, with both teams creating quality scoring chances. The local crowd was treated to some fantastic, high speed end-to-end play. Newcomer Stephanie Norlander had a superb debut for Canada, as did veterans Kate Gillis, Abi Raye, and Rachel Donohoe. Argentina added a 2nd goal on a brilliant passing sequence, eventually breaking-down the Canadian defence.
The game ended 2-0 for Argentina. An exhibition shoot-out provided a fantastic finish to an exciting 3-game series between these two squads.
After the game, players signed autographs for the local youngsters for over 45-minutes, and greeted local fans and supporters. This was a fitting end to such an exciting series of games.
A special thank you to West Vancouver FHC, for hosting another memorable event. And a HUGE thank you to PAUL WINSTANLEY for providing a fantastic set of images!