PHOTO: Kate Gillis battles with Indian player Navjot Kaur in the Hawke’s Bay Cup playoff in New Zealand (Courtesy of Hawke’s Bay Festival of Hockey)
Canada’s women’s field hockey team dropped a 1-0 decision to India in a Hawke’s Bay Cup playoff match Saturday morning in New Zealand and will now play for 7th place on Sunday at 10:30am local time (3:30pm PT/6:30pm ET on April 9 in Canada).
Canada went toe-to-toe with the thirteenth ranked Indians for the majority of the match but wasn’t able to beat goalkeeper Savita for the equalizer.
The game began with India dictating the play for the first few minutes, which resulted in the game’s first corner of the match given to the Indians in the 6th minute. The attempted deflection was missed and Canada came out unscathed.
That’s when the Canadians began to mount an attack, as for the next five minutes they pushed back and earned a corner of their own. Karli Johansen’s dragflick was stopped by Savita as she moved to her right and the game remained scoreless into the second quarter.
Canada continued to control play and in the 16th minute earned another penalty corner after good baseline work from midfielder Natalie Sourisseau.
Johansen once again got the ball and this time tried to fire it back to Kate Gillis, who injected the ball before heading to the near post. The timing was off and Canada couldn’t make good on the corner chance.
Only minutes later, India had their best opportunity to score as Rani was all alone in front of the Canadian goal but put her shot wide. The score remained 0-0 at half-time.
Canada opened the second half looking like the team that was going to break through first.
The Canadians possessed the majority of the ball early, mostly in the Indian end and were able to manage multiple circle entries in the third quarter.
The best chances to score came over a short span starting in the 33rd minute.
First, Abigail Raye fired a backhand cross-field to Gillis in the circle, who moved the ball quickly to Brienne Stairs in front but Savita rushed out to make the save.
Then, Stairs had another chance in tight just moments later, which was stopped once again but resulted in a Canadian corner. Danielle Hennig lined up to take this one and fired a flick to the goalie’s right but was stopped.
Canada seemed to be doing everything right except putting the ball in the net.
It was India, against the run of play, who scored the game’s only goal. In the 43rd minute, Lilima Minz was fed a ball through the middle of the pitch and made her way tot the top of the Canadian circle before hammering a hard hit low past Kaitlyn Williams to give India the 1-0 lead.
In the 51st minute, Thea Culley and Stephanie Norlander both had chances from point blank range but both had their shots blocked and deflected wide. Johansen put another dragflick on goal shortly after on another Canadian corner, but this time it was an Indian defender saving it on the goal line.
In the end, the Canadians ran out of time and India held on for the 1-0 win.
Canada will now face the winner of Ireland-Korea in the 7th place match which will be played Sunday at 10:30am local time in New Zealand (3:30pm PT/6:30pm ET on April 9 in Canada). The game can be watched lived online at hockeynz.co.nz.