Field Hockey Canada > Canadian men headed to Junior World Cup and Pan Am final with win over Chile

Canadian men headed to Junior World Cup and Pan Am final with win over Chile

PHOTO: Canada’s Under-21 men celebrate a 3-1 win over Chile (and a berth in the upcoming Junior World Cup) in the 2016 Junior Men’s Pan American Championship semifinal in Toronto (Photo: Yan Huckendubler)

May 27, 2016 | Shaheed Devji |

Canada’s Under-21 men booked a ticket to the 2016 Junior World Cup in India later this year with a 3-1 semifinal win over Chile Friday at the Junior Men’s Pan American Championship in Toronto.

The win guarantees a top-two finish for Canada, which means it joins Argentina – the other Pan Am finalist – as the two Pan American representatives at the upcoming Junior World Cup in December. Canada and Argentina will also meet in Saturday’s Junior Men’s Pan American Championship gold medal match at 2:30pm PT/5:30pm ET.

With a spot at the Junior World Cup and in gold medal match on the line, the game started tentatively with neither team wanting to make the first mistake.

It wasn’t until the eighth minute of play – when Chile was able to earn a corner – that the offense and emotion began to pick up.

The dragflick on Chile’s corner was put high over the Canadian goal and keeper Iqwinder Gill, who was making his fourth start of the tournament.

Canada went on the attack shortly after in the 10th minute when captain Brandon Pereira sent a ball high through the air and up the field to forward Rohan Chopra, who turned on the jets and raced past the last Chilean defender and to the ball before being fouled. The play resulted in Canada’s first corner, but Pereira but his own flick wide.

But Canada would have another chance to crack the scoreless draw in the 12th minute and made good on the opportunity when Amrit Sidhu set up Fin Boothroyd in the Chilean circle. Boothroyd showed great patience and skill to turn the ball to his backhand and chip it over Chilean keeper Agustin Araya to give Canada the 1-0 lead.

Chile tried to push back, but Canada, as it did for the better part of the match, defended well thanks in part to strong defensive plays from the likes of Floyd Mascarenhas, and some luck with Chile not being able to connect on a good scoring chance for Axel Troncoso in the 21st minute.

In the 27th minute, however, Chile did tie the game on their second penalty corner of the game. The dragflick was faked and the ball dished to Nicolas Renz who put it by Gill to even the score heading into the second half.

Canada dodged a bullet early in the second half when Pereira went off with a green card and Canada was forced to play shorthanded. Gill also kept the game tied when he made a save in tight on Franco Becerra on a redirect.

Knowing they had avoided going down, Canada took advantage of its next opportunity in the 44th minute, when a ball was played cross-field to Shahbaaz Dhaliwal, who headed towards goal and flipped the ball over Aray for the 2-1 lead.

The Canadians would add an insurance marker in the 61st minute after Harbir Sidhu took a quick free hit and beat several Chilean players to enter the circle and work his way towards goal before dishing off to Kabir Aujla who tapped it in.

The Chileans pulled their goalie in favour of a kicking back but couldn’t create any chances as Canada went on to the 3-1 win.

Canada advances to the tournament final against Argentina on Saturday (2:30pm PT/5:30pm ET). The game will be a rematch of the 2015 Pan American Games men’s final when Canada’s senior men lost out to the Argentines on home soil.

The game can be watched live online here.

As a top-two finisher, Canada also moves on to the 2016 Junior Men’s World Cup in India later this year.