PHOTO: Harbir Sidhu (centre) carries the ball out of danger while playing Trinidad & Tobago at the 2017 Pan American Cup on August 4 in Lancaster, USA (by Yan Huckendubler/PAHF).
Canada’s men’s field hockey team are off to a strong start at the 2017 Pan American Cup in Lancaster, USA.
Ranked 11th in the world, the Men’s National team defeated Trinidad & Tobago (ranked 33rd) 4-0 in their first match of the tournament.
The first quarter saw some back and forth play, but Canada ultimately came out to light up the scoreboard first. Captain Scott Tupper took the flick off a short corner call and banked it into back of the net eight minutes in. The tempo seemed to rise after the first goal, with both teams getting a bit scrappy. A series of cards were handed out to both teams, and the carding came to define the end of the first quarter.
But, the men turned it around and came out in the second with some big chances. Floris Van Son had a opportune ball go just wide of an open net, but it was Matthew Sarmento in the 23rd minute who carried the ball dangerously along the baseline and fired across the Trinidad goalie, stuck in his net, to sneak the ball across to the bottom right corner and double Canada’s lead to 2-0.
Trinidad & Tobago ran it back down the field to attempt some circle entries with Canada on the defence, but Balraj Panesar took it straight back. Panesar streaked up the sideline and ripped it in front of the net, but the tip didn’t get quite enough juice to make it on goal.
In the 28th minute, a short corner opportunity arose and Gordon Johnston converted it to a top shelf snipe, making it 3-0 for Canada.
The last of the second quarter saw chances going wide of the nets for both teams, but no one seemed to be able to hit the net, leaving it 3-0 still for Canada as halftime was called.
Trinidad and Tobago came out of halftime strong, but with some solid defending by the likes of Brad Logan, playing his first game as a Senior member on the Men’s National Team, who ensured the ball stayed out of harms way. A couple minutes later, goalkeeper David Carter, who was celebrating his 150th game with the Men’s National team, stepped up for his first touch of the game with a huge save to keep Canada’s 3-0 lead.
The third quarter was filled with more chances and Canada carrying most of the possession – swinging it back and forth the half-way line, trying to find an opening in the Trinidad & Tobago defence. Keegan Pereira had two back to back chances late in the third, both of which disappointingly snuck just wide of the net.
In the 50th minute the men saw a huge opening, with the Trinidad and Tobago goalie out of position, and a big stick save from a Trinidad player. Trying to clear it, a short corner was called. The first flick was saved by the Trinidad goalie, but Ian Smythe, waiting patiently in front of the goal, was able to hit the back of the net off the rebound.
In the dying seconds of the game, Trinidad and Tobago fired back with some last minute chances, but the Men defended it out to bring Game 1 of the Pan American Cup to a close with a final score of 4-0 for Canada.
You can catch more exciting games from the Men when they play next Sunday August 6th against Brazil 7am PT/10am ET. For their full schedule, click here.
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