PHOTO: Blair Shier
The Canadian men’s field hockey team capped off a momentous day with a 6-3 win over the United States in the first of four games in the 2016 Summer Games Sendoff presented by London Drugs.
The win came on the shoulders of two goals from Gordon Johnston, who was given honours as the London Drugs Man of the Match, and a goal from Keegan Pereira, who was playing in his 100th match for Canada.
“I think the U.S. were a good test for us today,” Johnston says. “They challenged us in all the right areas and we performed well when we needed to.”
Richard Hildreth, a reserve for the 2016 Olympic Team, scored the game’s first goal, while team captain Scott Tupper and Adam Froese rounded out the scoring for the Canadians.
The game was played on the heels of the 2016 Olympic men’s field hockey team being named earlier in the day.
The series is the first and only time the newly named Canadian Olympic field hockey team will play in competitive matches before the Olympic Games.
The turnout in West Vancouver was as expected, with a capacity crowd surrounding Rutledge Field at Ambleside Park.
“Hearing everyone yell and scream after all the goals and even before, it really gets you going,” Johnston adds.
“Seeing all 2,000 or so fans at the field, that are all Canadian fans is a rare occurrence. So for us to have that is something special.”
Three-time Olympian and London 2012 bronze medalist in 100-metre freestyle, Brent Hayden – who was involved in the video announcing Canada’s field hockey team for Rio 2016 – took part in the ceremonial coin flip before the match.
The Canadians put on the pressure from the beginning of the match, earning a corner early but the attempt from Tupper was turned away by the American keeper.
The first quarter was scoreless, but the Canadians got on the board early and often in the second.
Hildreth broke the deadlock, before Johnston and Tupper added their first goals of the game, both on drag flicks.
The Canadians led 3-0 at half and never looked back, thanks to second half goals from Froese, Johnston, and Pereira, and despite a late surge from the States who put in two goals in the fourth quarter to bring the game to a 5-3 scoreline.
But Pereira’s fourth quarter goal restored the three-goal lead and sealed the deal for Canada.
The teams are back it on Thursday when they play at Tamanawis Field in Surrey, British Columbia at 7pm PT. The game is open to the public and free to attend.
Goals – Canada
17′ – Hildreth (FG)
19′ – Johnston (PC)
23′ – Tupper (PC)
42′ – Froese (PC)
44′ – Johnston (2) (PC)
46′ – Pereira (FG)
Goals – USA
32′ – Paul Singh (FG)
49′ – Paul Singh (FG)
50′ – William Holt (PC)