The Canadian Men’s National Team put in an improved performance in the second-to-last match of their test series with the New Zealand Blacksticks, but were unable to earn the victory, losing 3-1.
After going down 2-0 in the four-game series against the New Zealand Blacksticks, Canada wwas looking for a bounce back performance in the third game of the series, which was the first of two taking place in Christchurch.
Coming off a 4-0 defeat in Nelson, in which the Kiwis got off to a quick start, the Canadians knew the start in game three would be equally important.
Canada began the game with a higher pace and more up-field pressure, but it was once again New Zealand that scored the game’s opening goal.
A loose ball found the stick of Jacob Smith at the side of the Canadian goal. Smith was easily able to put it in the gaping cage to give the home side the 1-0 lead.
The Blacksticks had a chance to go up 2-0 almost immediately after their first goal but Carter stood tall on a shot from his left to keep the game at 1-0.
Canada was able to turn the momentum after a great run down the right side of the pitch by Gabriel Ho-Garcia, who ended up earning a penalty corner.
A strong drag flick from captain Scott Tupper found its way through but was turned away by the New Zealand keeper George Enersen.
Tupper was then forced to make a strong defensively play on a penalty corner in his end shortly after, as he stopped the ball on the line to keep the game at 1-0.
But the Kiwis would add to their lead before the half. Early in the second quarter, a nice drive from Ryan Archibald was finished by Stephen Jenness to make it 2-0.
Canada got on the board before half time when Ho-Garcia made a strong turn at the top of the Blacksticks circle, turning and unleashing a quick wrist shot.
The shot was deflected by the New Zealand keeper by James Kirkpatrick to cut the Kiwi lead to 2-1.
In the second half, Ho-Garcia created another great chance for Canada when he found Paul Wharton open at the side of the Kiwi goal. Wharton’s shot was stopped point blank.
Nick Wilson added a goal in the 55th minute to give New Zealand insurance and Canada was unable to get any closer.
“I think it was a little bit closer contested than our last game,” Tupper told the Kiwi broadcast crew post-game. “We brought our level up a little bit but weren’t able to take any points”
“We’re not going to win too many games against a team like New Zealand scoring only one goal. Hopefully we can generate more of an attack.”
The fourth and final match of the series takes place on Saturday at 6pm PT / 9pm ET. The final match and all archived matches from the series can be watched here.