It’s been a sombre few days for Canada as the country is still reeling from the fatal bus accident of the junior ice hockey team, Humboldt Broncos, in rural Saskatchewan. Canadians across the world, including at the Gold Coast Games are showing their support. The Canadian Men’s National field hockey team’s final group stage match featured a moment of silence before the game.
Canada’s opposition, South Africa, came into today’s match with a 0-0-3 record in the tournament. Despite the winless record, today belonged to the South Africans. The first half featured even play from both sides as the teams felt each other out and found their rhythm in the match. South Africa stunned Canada one minute into the third quarter with a well-timed deflection goal by Ryan Julius.
The desperation came too late in the game as Canada dominated the fourth quarter earning five penalty corner opportunities but were unable to capitalize on any of them. South African keeper, Siyavuya Nolutshungu, performed admirably posting a clean sheet and making some tremendous saves in clutch moments down the stretch. With the Canadian keeper out for an extra attacker, South Africa added a goal in the last minute. A late PC effort from Canada yielded no result and South Africa secured their first victory. Canada finished second in a three-way tie for third and will now play in the 7/8 consolation match against Pakistan.
With little time for reflection, Canada will now turn its sights on Pakistan. Over the past five years, Canada has only played against Pakistan three times. They lost twice to Pakistan at the Azlan Shah Cup in 2016 and defeated Pakistan in the 2017 World League Semi-Final. As coach Paul Bundy said before the tournament began, the team will put a great emphasis on how they finish this event and set themselves up for the 2018 World Cup in the fall.
You can watch Team Canada take on Pakistan live at 5:45pm PDT on Thursday — www.dazn.com
Photo highlights of Canada’s fourth round battle against South Africa. Photos/Yan Huckendubler