Field Hockey Canada > Canada wins second straight at World League Semifinals with 3-0 shutout over Austria

It has been a dream start for Canada at the World League Semifinals. 

After a 2-1 win over eleventh ranked Spain to open the tournament on Wednesday, the fifteenth ranked Canadian Men’s Field Hockey Team followed up with a 3-0 shutout victory over Austria Thursday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Canada knew excatly what they would be facing in the twenty-second ranked Austrians, who started the tournament with a 3-0 loss to host Argentina. And the Canadians executed their game plan to a tee en route to their second win of the tournament.

“We knew Austria would sit back and we just had to be really patient with our game plan,” says Canada’s goalkeeper David Carter, who was making his second straight start and earned his first shutout the tournament. “Once we put that first one in we knew they’d have to come at us in the third and fourth (quarters) and we were able to put two more goals in to seal the victory.”

The first quarter was a feeling out process for both teams, with Austria sitting back and studying the Canadian offense, which was trying to find holes to break through Austria’s defense.

Late in the second quarter, Canada began to find those holes thanks to some good ball movement and runs upfield by the Canadian forwards.

After some pressure in the Austrian end, veteran midfielder Mark Pearson picked up the ball and dragged a shot from the top left of the circle. The shot beat goalkeeper Mateusz Szymczyk, but there was some uncertainty whether Pearson released the ball inside or outside of the circle.

The umpires called for a video review and after some deliberation, the goal was confirmed and Canada took a 1-0 lead in the twenty-ninth minute.

Early in the second half, Canada thought they had their second of the match when captain Scott Tupper’s hard low ball across the goal mouth was deflected in. The umpires once again needed to go to video review, but this time the replays showed the ball hitting and Austrian defender, not a Canadian stick, and therefore the goal was called off.

Canada had another chance to double their lead when Matthew Guest’s point blank chance was stopped by Szymczyk.

At 1-0 and with Canada threatening to add to the lead, Austria began to press and that’s when Carter was asked to stand tall.

After outnumbering Canada down low, Julius Heimans took a pass from across the net but a sliding Carter was able to turn the ball away, which would prove to be a momentum changer.

“I saw the player coming down on my left side, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the trailer who I thought he would pass it to,” he recalls. “Luckily he did and I slid over and got my right pad on it.”

“That’s what you have to do in my positon. I’m always happy to get shots and help the team out.”

Only moments later, in the forty-fourth minute, Canada cleared its own end by way of a great solo dash from Gabriel Ho-Garcia.

Garcia found a streaking Devohn Noronha-Teixeira, who – for the second game in row – found himself alone behind the opposition defenders. Noronha-Teixeira, running out of room, chipped the ball around the Austrian keeper and then tapped it in for Canada’s second goal and his second of the tournament.

The game was never in doubt from that point, as Canada continued to press, eventually adding a third goal from Matthew Sarmento who beat Szymczyk with some nice hands on a clean break. Sarmento’s first of the tournament in the sixtieth minute sealed the deal and Canada went on to victory.

The Canadians now have a day off before facing tournament host and the world’s sixth ranked team, Argentina, who also beat Austria by a score of 3-0. The match can be watched live online via Star Sports at 2pm PT/5pm ET.

Click here for Canada’s full World League Semifinals schedule and results.

Highlights courtesy of FIH: