USA Men’s Hockey team outbid Canada in their second Pan American Cup match

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Dragflick Newsdesk : In their second Pool B game of the 2022 Pan American Cup, the No. 22 U.S. Men’s National Team met familiar opponent No. 10 Canada at the Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, Chile. Having just faced each other in December, USA took the lead just before the half and added another in the fourth but not before a persistent Canada cut the margin.

USA held on for the 2-1 win, marking the first time the red, white and blue has beaten Canada in an international competition in more than 10 years.

“I’m extremely proud of this group of players,” said Harry Singh, USMNT Head Coach. “They are highly motivated and stuck to the plan. As their second game, they had faith and played together as a team.”

In the opening three minutes, both teams had good looks on frame. USA’s came when Christian DeAngelis (Doylestown, Pa.) found himself along the left baseline, but his backhand attempt went over the end line. For Canada, a cross circle ball found Keegan Pereira, but his elevated shot was denied by USA goalkeeper Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany).

The middle minutes of the quarter were played primarily between the 25-yard lines, with both sides occasionally breaking into their attacking end. With three minutes remaining, Kai Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) sent a long ball ahead to Kai Kokolakis (Wiesbaden, Germany) whose low reverse reception put him 1v1 with Canada goalkeeper Antoni Kindler, but to no avail. Canada immediately countered but strong USA defense kept the score locked at 0-0.

USA started the second quarter on the front foot. Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) used speed in the midfield to break into the circle, took a shot and his rebound was followed up by Paul Singh (Simi Valley, Calif.) but it went wide. Canada had a close chance in the 19th minute, when a flurry in front of Klages ended with Matthew Sarmento diving uncontrollably resulting in a 10-minute yellow card.

With an athlete advantage, USA earned their first penalty corner in the 24th minute but were unable to find a result. Canada was issued another card in the 27th minute and seconds later USA put one away. The play started with a shot from Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.) that was saved by Kindler, but Alberto Montilla (Allen, Texas) jumped on the rebound and scored.

In the third quarter, no action was present until a little over midway through the frame. USA held much of the possession but in the 41st minute momentum shifted and Canada broke into their circle. A backhand shot was denied by Klages and although the follow up went in, a previous swinging attempt missed the ball and was called for the foul.

Canada remained in control and earned a penalty corner, but it was defended well by USA. Immediately, the red, white and blue countered and through a fast break Aki Kaeppeler (New York City, N.Y.) threw an aerial ahead to Harris who ripped it into the back corner.

Canada asked for a video referral on the play for Singh sliding in on the far post. The call was overturned, which resulted in no USA goal as well as Singh receiving a 10-minute yellow card.

Starting the fourth quarter a player down, USA were put under pressure by Canada. Five minutes in, great passing by USA led to K. Kaeppeler dribbling 30-yards and passing it ahead where Vincent Heller (Stuttgart, Germany got a slight touch past Kindler to a diving Kokolakis on the finish.

A minute later, Canada added one back off a penalty corner rebound backhand shot from Gordon Johnston to make it 2-1. With tensions high, the final 9 minutes saw USA have a penalty corner call turned away as they defended a persistent Canada attack. Desperate for the tying goal, Canada pulled their goalkeeper, used their referral in hopes to earn a penalty corner but the red, white and blue held on for the 2-1 win.

“It was a really close game and we had to fight until the last minute, but I am really happy we won,” said A. Kaeppeler, following the game.

“We haven’t seen that much of Mexico yet, but we have played them a lot in the past. They are a team that fights really hard, and we will have to be careful and take care of the counterattacks.”

The last time the USA men beat Canada in either a Pan American Cup or Pan American Games was in 1967.

The USA men will play their final Pool B on Monday, January 24 against No. 30 Mexico at 2:15 p.m. ET.

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