PHOTO: Blair Shier
Canada’s Men’s National Team is off to a 2-0 start in the 2016 Summer Games Sendoff series presented by London Drugs after a 4-1 win over the United States Thursday night in Surrey, British Columbia.
The Canadian men – who are playing in their first competition since officially naming the sixteen men headed to Brazil to represent Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games – picked up a 6-3 victory in the first match of the series Wednesday in West Vancouver.
A two-goal performance from Keegan Pereira, who was named London Drugs Man of the Match and now has three goals in the first two games of the competition, led to a comfortable win.
Scott Tupper and Gordon Johnston rounded out the scoring for Canada.
“They came out better than they did yesterday,” Pereira says. “They pressured us quite a bit more and we handled it well. We moved the ball a lot better than we did yesterday.”
Thursday’s match saw both teams begin strong from the outset leading to both teams earning chances to score early.
Canada picked up a penalty corner in the first minute of play and captain Scott Tupper fired a dragflick on goal but was turned away by American goalkeeper Brandon Karess.
Shortly after the Canadian opportunity, the Americans went back the other way and Canadian keeper David Carter was forced to make a quick kick save in the third minute to keep the game scoreless.
Each team had another chance to score before the end of the quarter, but couldn’t convert and the game was tied until the second quarter.
It was the States who scored the first goal when William Holt converted on a penalty corner in the 19th minute to give the U.S. their first lead of the game and the series.
But it was short lived.
In the 22nd minute, after two previous attempts which he narrowly missed, Tupper converted on a penalty corner to tie the game. The goal was his second of the series.
The game was tied at half, but the Canadians continued to settle in and had a big third quarter.
Pereira scored his first of the game and second of the competition from the side of the net in the 39th minute before Johnston added to the lead two minutes later.
In the fourth, Pereira added his second of the night and third of the series and Canada went on to the 4-1 win, making it two wins in two games so far in the front of the home crowd.
“It’s special for us because we never get to do this,” Pereira adds. “It’s definitely an experience that a lot of our guys haven’t had before.”
“It’s always fun playing in front of your family and friends. A lot of these guys we play in a league with or we coach their kids. So it’s awesome.”
The teams have a rest day on Friday before playing the final two matches of the Summer Games Sendoff presented by London Drugs on Saturday in West Vancouver (7pm, Rutledge Field), and Sunday in Surrey (6pm, Tamanawis Field).
Goals – Canada
22′ – Tupper (PC)
39′ – Pereira (FG)
41′ – Johnston (FG)
56′ – Pereira (FG)
Goals – United States
19′ – William Holt (PC)