Canada’s men’s field hockey team is headed home after finishing a seven-game European tour with a 2-2 draw against Spain in Madrid on Sunday.
With Sunday’s result, the Canadians earned two draws in three games against Spain and finished with three draws in their last four games of the European trip. Overall, the Canadian men finished the Ireland and Spain series with a combined record of 0W-4L-3D.
While the Canadians would’ve have like to pick a win, consistent play, the creation of many scoring opportunities throughout the seven games, and finishing strong against the 13th ranked (Ireland) and 11th ranked (Spain) teams in the world – both of which are headed to the 2016 Olympics – will likely be encouraging as Canada heads into the final stage of its Olympic preparation.
The Canadian coaching staff will now confer to choose sixteen athletes who will represent Canada at the Olympics this August in Brazil. Those sixteen players will then compete one final time at the Summer Games Sendoff presented by London Drugs, during which Canada’s men will host the United States in four games in British Columbia from July 6-10.
After picking up a 0-0 tie despite myriad scoring chances in Friday’s match with Spain, Canada was able to convert early on Sunday.
Matthew Guest earned a penalty corner in the opening moments of the match and Scott Tupper unleashed a draglifck past the Spanish keeper to give Canada the 1-0 lead in the 3rd minute.
Spanish immediately went back the other way searching for the equalizer but Canadian keeper David Carter made an athletic save to get himself in the game early.
In the 7th minute, however, the Spanish were able to beat Carter on a Alvara Iglesias backhand from his right.
Spain then took the lead late in the first when Pau Quemada converted on a penalty corner in the 11th.
Canada had a couple opportunities to tie in the second half, but were not able to break through until the 26th minute when a ball from Richard Hildreth was played toward Brenden Bissett at the top of the circle, where it was deflected towards the goal for an onrushing Matthew Sarmento to put it in and tie the game.
The Canadians had a chance to go ahead when Keegan Pereira found a moment alone in front of the Spanish goal and took a quick wrist shot that beat the Spanish keeper but hit the post.
While both teams continued to push for the deciding goal, neither could break the deadlock and the game ended in a 2-2 tie.