Field Hockey Canada > Canada defeats Ukraine, will shoot for fifth place

Canada defeats Ukraine, will shoot for fifth place

January 18, 2024 | Field Hockey Canada |

A two-goal second-half lifts Canada to its second victory of the event

In a determined effort to salvage as high a finishing position as possible at the FIH Olympic Qualifier tournament, Canada faced Ukraine in a match where Olympic qualification was no longer within reach. Despite the absence of Olympic stakes, both teams had crucial international points at stake, offering an opportunity to secure a place in the fifth-place game.


Canada started the game with a strong offensive presence, maintaining possession, but both teams struggled to create significant scoring opportunities. The first half unfolded as a strategic chess match, with neither side securing a defining moment in the opposing half.

As the match progressed into the second half, both Canada and Ukraine found more quality chances, injecting a bit of pace into the game. In a pivotal moment during the third quarter, Canadian goalkeeper Rowan Harris made a remarkable diving save to maintain the deadlock at nil-nil. The breakthrough for Canada came in the final minute of the third quarter when Karli Johansen executed a well-coordinated penalty corner set play, putting Canada in the lead. The momentum carried into a strong fourth quarter, with Audrey Sawers contributing a notable field goal off the backhand.

The Canadian defending core was rock-solid, as they have been all tournament long. The Canadian defensive toughness has become a staple of the Wolf Pack game. Canadian defender Sara McManus was awarded the player of the match and said that she was proud of the team’s resilience to be patient and break the ice in the third.

“We were really happy to get a positive result, as we knew it would be a tough, tight game,” McManus said. “We’re happy that we stuck through it, and broke through eventually. We’ve been learning something new every game and we’ll be looking to bring that into the last game.”

Johansen said that after the loss to Spain and being officially out of the Olympics, everyone was given space to process that disappointment in their own way. But she said, they knew they still had matches they wanted to perform in, so the team stayed together and built towards today’s match against Ukraine.

“We took some time yesterday for recovery and switching our mindset. We want to keep improving all tournament long and we wanted to use today to build on what we’ve done so far,” she said. “We’re hoping to finish strong on Saturday. It’s going to be another tight game. We’ve improved as the tournament has gone along and we have a lot to show.”

Canada’s two-goal performance proved sufficient as they secured a victory in the crossover round, earning a spot in the fifth-place match against Korea. The upcoming clash with Korea holds significance for Canada, having suffered narrow defeats to them twice at the 2022 World Cup. Saturday’s match in Valencia presents an opportunity for Canada to seek retribution and end the tournament on a positive note.



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