Field Hockey Canada > Indoor World Cup - Day 3

Indoor World Cup – Day 3

February 6, 2015 | Shaheed Devji |

The Canadian teams had mixed fortunes at the Indoor World Cup in Leipzig. The women had a draw (against Belgium) and a win (over (Kazakhstan) and will play for 10th place on Saturday. The men suffered two losses (against Poland and Australia) and will play for 11th.

(women) Canada vs. Belgium: 2-2 (ht: 0-1)

Both teams were on the hunt for their first win of the competition and well decided to come up on top of this last pool match. Even for this early morning game, they were supported by large fan sections; with the reinforcement of enthusiastic children from a local school, with face painted to Canadian colors and even one in a polar bear costume, Canada clearly won the cheering sideshow!

First period was played at high speed, but actions were often too rushed and chances not finalized, Belgium scoring the lone goal of the period on a penalty-corner in the 14th minute.

Madison Thompson brought the teams back level with a typical (ice) hockey move: she jumped onto the ice, sorry, court, for a quick substitution, intercepted a ball from a Belgian player who was not expecting to find her there, ran diagonally all the way into the circle then cut towards the goal and slide the ball by the stunned goal-keeper.

Canada survived a green card and a penalty-corner on the next action and play became wild, flowing non-stop from one end to the other. The players were leaving all their energy on the court and play became “physical” at time. The umpires had trouble keeping the tempers under control and had to dish out green and yellow cards to both teams.

Belgium briefly regained the lead in the 34th minute on a penalty-corner, but Kaelan Watson immediately equalized at the other end, also on a penalty-corner. Score tied 2-2 with four minutes to go! Both teams wanted to win and simultaneous replaced their goal-keeper for an extra field player, setting the stage for a torrid end of match.

The tie ensured a fifth place in pool A to Canada. They now will have to wait for the result of the last game of Pool B to learn their opponent of the 9-12 cross-over, either South Africa or Kazakhstan.

(men) Poland vs. Canada: 6-3 (ht: 4-1)

The Canadian men’s team lost their last pool match in a very intense and hard fought fight against Poland, in a game unfortunately marred by umpiring decisions that consistently baffled (and upset) players from both teams.

Poland had an early penalty-stroke but Pardeep Koonar, in goal for Canada today, saved it brilliantly. He could however not prevent Poland from scoring three times in three minutes to take a comfortable 3-goal lead in the 8th minute of play.

As the previous day against South Africa, the Canadians regrouped and picked up the pace. They could not penetrate the compact and experienced Polish defensive block and, with time passing, decided to pull their goal-keeper with five minutes left in the period. Interestingly, the Poles matched the move and both teams were playing with five field players and no goal-keeper.

Canada forced a penalty-corner and were denied an obvious stroke that only the umpire did not see. They maintained their pressure, earned another stroke in the 18th minute and Jonathan Roberts did not miss the chance to close the gap. Unfortunately, Poland regained their 3-goal lead just before half-time (4-1).

Canada continued in second period without a goal-keeper and managed to score twice, by Lyle Fernandes then Sean Barretto, coming tentatively close to tying the score. Play was getting physical and a Polish player was shown a yellow card to cool his tempter, but Canada could not capitalize on the advantage, leaving the door for a Polish final push.

Poland scored again in the 31st minute, then put the nail in the coffin in the 38th minute on a severe penalty-corner. The loss left Canada in fifth place, out of their objective to make the quarter-finals.

(women – cross-over 9-12) Canada vs. Kazakhstan: 4-1 (ht: 1-0)

Canada earned a well-deserved win in their cross-over against Kazakhstan, fighting hard to impose their play to their sometimes physical opponents.

They dominated the early stages of the game, but the first opportunity was for Kazakhstan on a penalty-stroke, coolly saved by KJ Williams in the Canadian goal. In fact, she saved it twice, as the Kazaks striker shot before the whistle, then was given a second chance by the umpire, and KJ showed her nerves by stopping both attempts!

Canada earned a penalty-stroke soon after and Madison Thompson needed only one attempt to open the score, the first time Canada was leading a match in this Indoor World Cup. Canada was dominating the proceedings, but the Kazakhs were putting a strong fight to defend the path to their goal and half-time was reached with the narrow one-goal lead for Canada.

The same pattern prevailed in second period, with Canada dictating pace but creating few clean chances. A swift deflection by Anna Easty shaved the post and it was finally Kyesia O’Neale who found the net in the 30th minute with an innocuous looking ball that tricked the goal-keeper.

Kazakhstan pulled their goal-keeper and, combined with a yellow card for Canada, managed to narrow the gap on a penalty-corner in the 39th minute, setting up a torrid end of game. The Kazakhs however picked up two yellow cards in a row, leaving the path open for two late Canadian goals by Alison Lee on penalty-corner then Jocelyn Mitchell on the last play of the match.

The Canadian women will now play for 10th place against South Africa, winner over Belgium in the other cross-over.

(men – cross-over 9-12) Canada vs. Australia: 3-6 (ht: 2-1)

Before the match, a ceremony was organized to celebrate the 50th Indoor Caps of Shankar Premakanthan and Ken Pereira. The parents of both players were on-hand to proudly present their sons with a memento of the occasion.

Things started well for the Canadians, and it was Kenny Pereira who had the honour of opening the score to celebrate in style his 50 milestone. For the first time in this competition, the Canadians were ahead on the scoreboard instead of having to run after the score. Australia were holding tight but could not generate any clean opportunity from the field. They did however score a penalty-corner in the 14th minute to briefly close the gap, but Jeewanjot Singh Bath reinstated the one-goal lead with a phenomenal run from centre line across the whole Australian defense concluded with a shot in an impossible angle.

Score was 2-1 in favor of Canada at half-time and Ken Pereira increased the lead just after the break with his second goal of the night. Things were looking good at this point and the large Canadian contingent was vocally expressing their excitement. Lyle Fernandes has a chance to widen the gap but his shot crashed on the cross-bar.

Things went downhill from there, with the Canadian players possibly starting to feel the effects of this sixth high level match in three days. In no time, Australia took the lead (4-3) thanks to two penalty-corners and a penalty-stroke. Canada tried to pull their goal-keeper to come back in the game but it was too late and Australia scored two more goals to finish with a clear cushion (6-3).

It was a heart-breaker loss for this Canadian team, who were close on most of their matches in this competition but never had the little breaks that could have propelled them on the sunny side. They now play South Africa to avoid the wooden spoon of the competition.

Results of Day 3 (Friday February 6):
(men) Poland vs. Canada:6-3 (4-1)
(women) Canada vs. Belgium:2-2 (0-1)
(women – cross-over 9-12) Canada vs. Kazakhstan: 4-1 (1-0)
(men – cross-over 9-12) Canada vs. Australia: 3-6 (2-1)

Pool Standings:
Men – Pool B: 1) Russia  2) Netherlands  3) Poland 4) Switzerland 5) Canada  6) South Africa
Women –  Pool A: 1) Germany  2) Australia  3) Austria  4) Ukraine 5) Canada  6) Belgium

Schedule for Day 4 (Saturday February 7):
(men) 11-12 South Africa vs. Canada
(women) 9th-10th Canada vs. South Africa