It wasn’t a picture-perfect game, according to Canadian head coach Rob Short, but Team Canada showed heart, determination and pushed the number three team in the world to a great match.
In the end, it was the number three Argentina Leonas who came out victorious 3-0 against Canada. Argentina celebrated their World Cup berth on the field after, leaving Canada feeling hungry for what is coming next. According to Short, the team felt like they played their strongest game of the tournament despite the loss and are feeling confident heading into their final match.
“I think we really found it again today. We had grit and we looked like the team that we want to be,” Short said. “Credit to [Argentina], that’s a strong hockey team over there. They are number three in the world for a reason. And yes, we lost, but we are proud of our performance today.”
Canada and Argentina played to a nil-nil first half draw exchanging chances, with Argentina controlling much of the pace of play. The Canadian defense bent but didn’t break and Rowan Harris kept the net clear for the first half. It was in the second half that Argentina finally broke through, notching a goal in the 32nd minute and following up with two in the fourth.
Short said that generating offense against Argentina is difficult but he thinks they are taking the right steps that will pay off in their next match.
“For a while, we really had to sit back and weather the storm. They put numbers on the ball, which makes it hard to generate attacking pressure. We’re going to review the film, identify the places we need to get better for next game.”
Canada plays Argentina in the 2022 Pan American Cup Semifinal. Photos/Oscar Munoz Badilla
For Short, a bright spot was the young players who haven’t played in this type of moment before. For him, they shone through, giving him even more confidence up and down the lineup for their tilt on Saturday.
“Our youngsters really stepped up today and played to an incredibly high level,” he said. “It really bodes well for us, those players delivering a good performance against a top team. Despite the loss, it felt like the bounce-back game we really needed.”
Canada will meet USA in the bronze medal match. The game will be a re-match of last weekend’s group stage battle. USA defeated Canada in that game 3-1 with a flurry of late goals. During their November training tour, Canada defeated USA in a five-game series. This game truly feels like a dead-heat between the 13th (CAN) and 15th (USA) world ranked teams.
It’s one game, with the winner advancing to the world cup. The stakes do not need to be overstated. When asked how the team was feeling leading up to the do-or-die qualification game, Short’s response was short and clear.
“We’re confident we’re going to do it,” he said. “We’re peaking at the right time and we’re feeling really good heading into that match.”
Our national teams are able to compete at the 2022 Pan American Cup thanks to the generous support from our sponsors. Thank you to our apparel partner, Indian Maharadja, our equipment supplier, Gryphon Hockey, and our club partners, West Vancouver FHC and Tamanawis Field Hockey Society, for supporting the Red Caribou and Wolf Pack!
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