Field Hockey Canada > Canadian men beat Japan for first win of Azlan Shah Cup

Canadian men beat Japan for first win of Azlan Shah Cup

PHOTO: Gabriel Ho-Garcia darts away from Seren Tanaka in Canada’s 3-1 win over Japan Saturday in Ipoh, Malaysia.

April 9, 2016 | Shaheed Devji |

Three second half goals lifted the Canadian men’s field hockey team to a 3-1 defeat of Japan Saturday at the 2016 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.

The win is Canada’s first of the tournament and comes after the team picked up its first point of the competition in its last game, Thursday against New Zealand.

With the three points from Japan, Canada now has four on the tournament and has a chance to position itself in the upper half of the group if it is able to pick up points from its final two group games.

Saturday’s match was evenly played for the first few minutes, in fact it was the Japanese who had the first good scoring chance in the 9th minute when Kenta Tanaka was sprung behind the Canadian defence for a partial breakaway.

Antoni Kindler, who started his second straight match and split the duties with David Cater, stood his ground making a pad save to keep the game scoreless.

Canada responded quickly with its own solo dash in the 13th minute, when – on a free hit – Gabriel Ho-Garcia picked up the ball, beat a few Japanese defenders and got a backhand shot off towards goal. The keeper, Takashi Yoshikawa, wasn’t phased and turned it away.

The Canadians almost broke the scoreless draw at the end of the first quarter, when – on another free hit – the ball was scooped to an open Iain Smythe in front of the Japanese goal. Smythe quickly turned and fired a shot, but Yoshikawa once again made the save.

Japan had opportunities to tie the game on corners late in the first half and early in the second half.

In the 23rd minute, the Japanese were given the first corner of the match but Devohn Noronha-Teixeira came up with a big block as the first runner.

Then, in the opening moments of the third quarter, Japan had two corners and on the second forced Carter, who had just entered the game, to make a spectacular diving save.

Carter’s save proved to be timely as only minutes later in the the 34th minute, Mark Pearson stole a ball from a Japanese midfielder who didn’t see him coming, took a few steps into the Japanese circle and unleashed a high, heavy backhand past Yoshikawa to give Canada the 1-0 lead.

Before the dust had a chance to settle on Pearson’s goal, Canada found itself ahead by two, as Ho-Garcia on another solo dash, this one along the baseline, beat the Japanese defenders and tucked the ball in the top shelf.

Japan got a goal from Hiroki Sakamoto on a corner that Canada wasn’t too pleased to be given in the 36th minute and the Canadian lead was cut in half.

Canada restored the two-goal lead at the end of the third quarter when a string of corners was capped off by Canadian captain Scott Tupper putting a flick by Yoshikawa for Canada’s third goal.

Carter made another diving save on a corner in the 53rd minute before Canada officially picked up the win.

The Canadians now face India, which has played two games and picked up 3 points, Sunday at 8:35pm in Malaysia (5:35am PT/8:35am ET in Canada).


  • Canadian captain Scott Tupper was named Man of the Match