PHOTO: Canada’s Adam Froese plays the ball during Canada’s match against the Netherlands at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games at the Olympic Hockey Centre in Rio de Janeiro on August, 9 2016 (Photo credit Yan Huckendubler)
Canada’s men’s field hockey team was handed its third loss at the 2016 Olympic Games 7-0 at the hands of London 2012 Games silver medalist and World No. 2, the Netherlands, Tuesday in Brazil.
With the loss, Canada now sits in sixth in Pool B and will need two wins in its last two pool matches to have a chance at moving on to the knockout round.
After losses to Germany, which won gold in London four years ago, and Argentina, the 7th ranked team in the world, in facing the second ranked Dutch, things did not get any easier for the 15th ranked Canadians.
However, it did not show early in the match.
As it did in the first two matches, Canada started strong. Tuesday was likely the Canadians best start of the tournament.
The positive started resulted in the game’s fist penalty corner being awarded in Canada’s favour in the third minute.
Iain Smythe turned the ball over in the midfield and quickly moved it to an onrushing Mark Pearson, who put on a nice display of skill to get into the Dutch circle and earn the corner.
On the ensuing opportunity, the ball was played to defender Gordon Johnston, who put a low dragflick to the right of Dutch keeper Jacob Stockmann, but the netminder was able to keep his stick tight to the pitch to turn it away.
Despite the miss, the Canadians were likely encouraged by the start.
But it was not long before the Dutch settled and began to see more of the ball, and in the 8th minute picked up their first penalty corner of the match.
Coming off a match in which it stopped nine of eleven Argentinian corners, Canada was surely confident with its corner defence. However, the Dutch converted on their first opportunity thanks to a conversion from Severiano Van Ass.
A minute later, the Dutch had a chance to add to the lead when Billy Bakker was open in the Canadian circle, but Canadian keeper David Carter was quick to challenge and turn his shot away.
Canada pressed at the end of the first quarter and had a glorious opportunity to tie when Mark Pearson played a ball across the face of the goal and Johnston redirected just wide of the goal.
The strong first quarter from the Canadians likely sparked the Dutch to take their play to another level and in the second quarter, they added two goals, the first on a penalty corner from Mink Van Weerden, and the second a field goal from Jeroen Heretzberger.
Canada quickly found itself down by three at half and with a tall order to close the gap in the final thirty.
The best chances came in the 37th minute when Keegan Pereira shot and then in the 42nd on a corner from captain Scott Tupper, which was earned by more impressive three-dimensional skills from Pearson.. But neither opportunity found its way past Stockmann.
The Netherlands added a fourth in the third frame, and then broke out in the final quarter with an additional three goals as Canada pushed to pick up its first.
Canada will now face Ireland on Thursday (7:00am PT/10:00am ET; Sportsnet, olympics,cbc.ca) in a matchup between two winless teams in Pool B
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.