Field Hockey Canada > Canada defeats Malaysia in shootout, takes fifth at Azlan Shah Cup

The Canadian Men’s National Field Hockey Team saved its best performance for last as they defeated tournament host Malaysia 3-1 in a shootout to take fifth place at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Sunday in Ipoh, Malaysia.

After going winless during the round robin against many of the world’s top field hockey teams, the Canadians – who were competing shorthanded with to veterans Scott Tupper, Mark Pearson, and Matthew Guest missing due to club duty and injury – were determined to put in a good showing against Malaysia.

The two teams met on Saturday in the final round robin match, with Malaysia coming out on top 4-1. But Canada, which has developed a rivlary with Malaysia over the years, had a chance to finish strong and take fifth place from the host nation on Sunday.

Malaysia began the match strong, grabbing the game’s first goal in the second minute. Canada’s Gabriel Ho-Garcia responded to tie the game in the sixteenth minute. 

The back and forth was a sign of things to come.

Malaysia once again took the lead with two quick goals before the thirtieth minute, but it was once against Burnaby’s Ho-Garcia who notched two more of his own to tie the game and net the hat trick.

Malaysia’s Faizal Saari, who scored earlier in the match, got his second of the game four minutes later in the thirty-fourth minute to give Malaysia its third lead of the night. But Canada, while they bent, did not break and showed great resolve tying the game for the third time.

It was a goal from Vancouver’s Matthew Sarmento in the forty-ninth which leveled the score and sent the game to a shootout.

Canada, which had been in this position before coming back from a deficit against Malaysia and sending the game to the shootout in the 2014 Champions Challenge semifinal, was full of confidence and it showed in the tiebreaker.

After missing their first shot, the Canadians scored three straight. Sukhi Panesar, Jagdish Gill, and Devohn Noronha-Teixeira all converted on their opportunities and goalkeeper David Carter made three saves on four shots to lead Canada to victory.

NOTES: With his hat trick, Ho-Garcia was named the Man of the Match. Canada was awarded the Team Fair Play award for the tournament.

The Canadian men will now head back to Vancouver to train before they take their first of two shots at 2016 Olympic qualification at the World League Semi-Finals in Buenos Aires, Argentina beginning on June 3.