PHOTO: Courtesy of 2016 Hawke’s Bay Festival of Hockey
Canada’s women field hockey team has one more match remaining in its four-game series against Japan, and heading into the final tilt the team is pleased with its overall performance against one of the world’s best.
Despite a 5-1 loss in the third match of the series, the team has made progress in each of its first three matches.
Sunday in Japan, Canada scored its first goal of the series when Holly Stewart scored a field goal in the 41st minute.
After a scoreless first quarter, Japan scored two goals in the second quarter to open up a 2-0 lead. They added another early in the third to go up 3-0 before Stewart’s tally made the match 3-1.
— Field Hockey Canada (@FieldHockeyCan) June 26, 2016
It remained that way until the final moments of the game when Japan added to quick goals in the 55th and 56th minutes.
“Today I thought we where structurally better than yesterday,” says head coach Ian Rutledge. “It’s a shame the final score blew out in the final 5 (minutes).”
Each game between the 19th ranked Canadian and 10th ranked Japanese has been close for the majority of the game. Having the opportunity to learn and get back on the field in quick succession has afforded Rutledge and the Canadians the chance to improve in each test.
“Japan, as a top team, are continually asking questions and pressuring us,” he says. “Developing a tolerance for this type of intensity and discomfort will serve us well the near future.”
Tuesday’s final match is scheduled to be played at 7:00pm local time (3:00am PT/6:00am ET).