Canada Tops USMNT Behind Three Goal Quarter in PAC Bronze Medal Match
by USA Field Hockey
IMAGES TAKEN BY WORLD SPORT PICS/RODRIGO JARAMILLO & HOCKEY CHILE
SANTIAGO, Chile – Up against a familiar opponent, the No. 22 U.S. Men’s National Team met No. 13 Canada in the 2022 Pan American Cup (PAC) bronze medal match. After USA took the lead in the second quarter, Canada responded with three unanswered in the third as the red, white and blue fell, 1-3.
"I think the boys really worked hard," said Harry Singh, USMNT Head Coach. "We played three excellent quarters but in the third, we didn’t focus and gave room to the opponent to manipulate. We conceded three soft goals which hit us hard."
"Overall, I think it was an excellent tournament but somehow, we didn’t finish where we should have. There is a lot to take from this event, but I have also identified a few areas which need to be addressed on a priority basis. It was my first competition as head coach for the USMNT, but I think this team played and displayed the kind of hockey, should have one of the team for forthcoming tournament. I am extremely proud of these highly talented and motivated players."
Like their previous meeting, USA knew it was going to be a battle against their northern neighbors. The red, white and blue collected the first circle entry in the 4th minute when Michael Barminski (Venura, Calif.) weaved in but he was met by solid defense from Canada. Midway through the frame, possession shifted to Canada and on one instance USA goalkeeper Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany) came up with the save. The final five minutes saw momentum shift between the two teams, but USA held the upper hand producing two good looks on goal. With 2:30 remaining, Barminski got a hard shot off and Kei Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) took the rebound, eliminated two defenders and got a second chance, but both attempts were saved by Canada goalkeeper Antoni Kindler. The quarter played out scoreless.
USA started the second quarter on the front foot earning a penalty corner after Jack Heldens (Hamburg, Germany) passed ahead to Vincent Heller (Stuttgart, Germany) in the circle who’s pass over to Alberto Montilla (Allen, Texas) hit a Canada foot. After two chances were re-awarded, off the third Aki Kaeppeler’s (New York City, N.Y.) drag was saved by Kindler but Heldens was there to bat it out of the air giving USA a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. Following, Canada worked it down to their end and had a chance to equalize with a deflection right in front of Klages, but he made the save and it was cleared away. On the resuming restart, Canada earned a penalty corner but great running by K. Kaeppeler forced a restart. On the resuming play, Klages came up big with back-to-back saves, the first on a backhand by Gordon Johnston and next a shot by Samuel Cabral. Off the counterattack, USA got in their circle and a cross by Montilla earned them another penalty corner. With four minutes to go, USA almost extended the lead when Heldens used speed down the right side and sent a backhand cross for the target of Heller but Kindler made the stop. Canada put USA under pressure in the final two minutes but the red, white and blue held strong to maintain the lead.
Canada came out in the third quarter eager and four minutes in found the equalizer. The play built up off the left baseline where a back pass found Fin Boothroyd who swept it into the net. Back to deadlocked, USA shifted tactics and moved to a half-field press to absorb Canada’s pressure. In the 41st minute, Canada’s persistence paid off as they took the lead off a penalty corner rebound goal from Johnston. Just three minutes later, Canada added another when a long ball in by James Kirkpatrick was deflected in front of the goal by Matthew Barnett.
USA headed into the final quarter trailing 1-3 along with being an athlete down, after Adam Miller (Panama City, Fla.) received a green card just as time expired in the previous frame. With a big task ahead, USA picked up the urgency and earned a handful of circle penetrations but couldn’t get off a solid shot. The quarter played out with USA unable to recover from the deficit as Canada secured the 1-3 win
“It’s very difficult,” said Mohan Gandhi (London, United Kingdom), USMNT Captain, on the game’s outcome. “Hats off to Canada. They were very mature and clinical today in the circle and we kind of lost our heads in the third quarter.”
Heller commented, “Of course it is difficult to go home without a medal but I am so proud of the boys, we gave up a good fight. We needed to keep our composure and we gave it away in the third quarter.”
For more information regarding the 2022 Pan American Cups, visit the event page.
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