The Canadian Men’s National team has wrapped up the first leg of its tour of New Zealand, notching 1W-1D-1L in three matches in Auckland against the New Zealand “First XI,” a team compromised of a mix young developing and current New Zealand National Team members.
The first match ended in a 0-0 draw, which both teams feeling out not only a new opponent, but a new format of play. The matches were being played in a recent introduced system of four 15-minute quarters.
“This game gave us a really good exposure to the new system,” said Canadian Men’s National Team Head Coach Anthony Farry. “It also gave us the opportunity to try out some new tactical concepts. We [were] very happy with the performance from the group.”
In the second match, the Canadians built on the nil-nil draw with a better on field performance, but didn’t get the result they were looking for on the scoreboard, dropping the decision 2-0.
“We showed a marked improvement in keeping possession of the ball,” said Farry. “Our intent was better and we created a number of really good scoring opportunities which unfortunately we weren’t able to capitalize on.”
In the third and final match in Auckland, the Canadians were able to achieve the intended result, coming out on top 3-2.
Canada went up 2-0 on goals from Brendan Bissett and Scott Tupper before New Zealand was able to pot one of their own. Canada responded once again in the 47th minute on a goal from John Smythe and were able to hold on for the win.
“We continued to build on reasonable performances in the last two games and certainly controlled possession better for the majority,” says Farry. “Our execution in the front third let us down a bit, but our structure was much better today.”
“These games have been hugely beneficial for us to work on strategy leading into what is going to be an exceptionally tough Test series against the Black Sticks.”
After completing the three training matches against the New Zealand “First XI” the Canadian Men’s National Team will head to Nelson and Christchurch for four official test matches against the Blacksticks.