Sudden Victory Challenge Shootout Win Gives USMNT 2023 Hockey5s PAC Gold
by USA Field Hockey
Images Taken by World Sport Pics
KINGSTON, Jamaica – It took a sudden victory challenge shootout round to decide the winner of the men’s 2023 Hockey5s Pan American Cups (PAC) final between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Trinidad and Tobago. Trailing early, USA responded in the first half and had to come from behind again in the second to close regulation at 2-2. After also being tied following three rounds of the challenge shootout, the Wolves claimed the win in the sudden victory round, 3-2.
“We wanted to play simple and smart hockey today,” said Harry Singh, Hockey5s USMNT Head Coach. “I think the men did an excellent job despite being down a goal, twice. They kept their composure and belief. Our plan was to not get trapped by Trinidad’s individual skill and be patient when tackling. Trinidad is a tough team with very skilled players but we knew if we played as a unit we would be able to get the job done.”
From the starting whistle, Trinidad and Tobago was on the front foot testing USA goalkeeper Tristan Clemons (Hattiesburg, Miss.) with two quick shots. In the 2nd minute, Trinidad got on the board when Mickell Pierre slotted a shot into the far corner. Moments after the restart, Tyler Sundeen (Simi Valley, Calif.) ripped a backhand that went just wide of the goal. In the 5th minute, both goalkeepers shared saved. First, Clemons cleared away a low angle shot from Jordan Reynos and then Henzor Motta (San Juan, Puerto Rico) sent a ball off the end board that Gerald Cutone (Middleton, Mass.) picked up and got past Trinidad goalkeeper Andrey Rocke but he managed to recover and get a stick save. It looked like USA was going to go into the half trailing, but the Wolves evened the score when Motta’s backhand was tipped in out of the air by Sundeen with seconds remaining.
To open the second half, Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura Hills, Calif.) found himself 1v1 with a Trinidad defender but was unable to get a shot off. A close chance came for USA moments later when a backhand by Sundeen was saved by Rocke but Amarpreet Sidhu (San Jose, Calif.) got on the rebound in the air and attempted to bat it down but couldn’t connect. In the 17th minute, Trinidad broke through the Wolves’ defense and Teague Marcano swept it into the net to make it 2-1. Trailing for the second time in the game, USA kept pushing and a minute later found the equalizer. Touching the ball just inches inside the halfway line, Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.) fired it in to make it 2-2. As time ticked down the excitement continued to build, especially when Clemons was forced to make back-to-back saves as regulation closed in a draw.
In the challenge shootout, both teams scored in the first round and couldn’t capitalized in the second. Trinidad’s Jordan Vieria shot was hit away by Clemons and Barminski earned a penalty stroke that Dhadwal took but Rocke’s stick deflected it onto the post. In the third round, Trinidad earned a penalty stroke that Reynos converted and Sundeen scored making it 2-2. In the sudden victory round, Dhadwal scored and Clemons came up big making the initial save as the resuming shot went wide, giving USA the 3-2 win.
Following the event, the Pan American Hockey Federation issued individual awards. Trinidad and Tobago’s Teague Marcano earned Top Scorer, for tallying 17 in the tournament, as well as Most Valuable Player, while Jamaica’s Ajani Burton was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
For more information regarding the Hockey5s Pan American Cups, visit the event page.
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