Field Hockey Canada > Olympics: Canada comes up short in contest with Pan American rival Argentina

Olympics: Canada comes up short in contest with Pan American rival Argentina

PHOTO: Canada’s Mark Pearson battles with Argentine Lucas Rossi during Rio 2016 Olympics Games hockey competition at the Olympic Hockey Centre in Rio de Janeiro on August, 8 2016 (Photo credit Yan Huckendubler)

August 8, 2016 | Shaheed Devji |

Canada’s men’s field hockey team dropped a hard fought match by a score of 3-1 to Pan American rival Argentina in Olympic hockey action Monday morning in Brazil.

The 7th ranked Argentines converted on two penalty corners, despite Canadian keeper David Carter and his corner defence turning away 9 of the 11 short corners given to Argentina.

Scott Tupper scored the lone goal for the Canadians on a penalty corer in the 55th minute, and despite their best attempts in the final minutes, Canada fell to 0-2 in the competition.

Canada faces 2nd ranked Holland in their third match of the tournament Tuesday in Brazil (9:30am PT/12:30pm ET; Sportsnet;

Currently sitting in 5th in Pool B after two games, the Canadians still have a chance to finish in the top four and advance to the quarterfinal round.

They will need at least three points in the final three preliminary matches to do so, and likely will need a fourth for their best chance.

“I think if we can play our gutsy, Canadian-kind of hockey and limit the chances that we give the opponents, I think we’ve got a good fighting chance,” says veteran forward Iain Smythe, who is playing in his first Olympic Games.

Monday’s game began positively for the Canadians, which controlled the majority of possession in the first five minutes.

It was Argentina, however, which mades the first waves on the circle. A ball was played behind Carter and along the goal line, but defender Ben Martin showed great composure to control it and clear.

The game was fairly evenly played throughout the first ten minutes, and Canada looked dangerous through the midfield with Burnaby’s Gabriel Ho-Garcia running well and controlling the play.

But somewhat against the run of play, Argentina scored the game’s first goal in the 13th minute when a ball was played from well outside the circle and took multiple deflections before finding Matias Paredes at the side of the Canadian goal, where he tapped it past Carter for the 1-0 Argentina lead.

The first two corners of the game came at the end of the first half, but Canada did well to thwart the Argentine chances on the shoulders of strong goaltending from Carter and blocks from lead runner Matthew Sarmento.

That became a theme of the game through the third quarter and into the fourth frame. Canada turned away the first nine short corner attempts, to keep the game at 1-0.

But having to constantly defend, the Canadians couldn’t mount any offence of their own until late in the game after Gonzalo Peillat had converted on Argentina’s 11th corner chance to make it 2-0.

Canada pushed back hard in the final ten minutes, controlling the play and picking up its first corner in the 47th minute.

Tupper played the ball to the side of the net to Mark Pearson, who redirected it towards goal but was stopped by keeper Juan Vivaldi.

Another Canadian corner attempt was blocked in the 50th minute before Argentina added to the lead in the 51st on another converted corner by Peillat.

Canada got on the board in the 55th when Tupper converted with a low, hard drag flick. But the goal was all Canada could manage before before time ran out.

Canada and the Netherlands play on Tuesday (9:30am PT/12:30pm ET, Sportsnet, in Day 4 of hockey competition in Brazil.

For Canada’s full schedule and results visit the Rio 2016 hockey site here.

Click here for competition photos of Canada’s Olympic hockey team at the 2016 Games