July 22nd, 2024

Canadian field hockey men and women both lose, see Olympic qualification dream fade

By The Canadian Press on January 16, 2024.

Canada led 1-0 for three quarters but conceded five late goals to lose 5-1 to Spain on Tuesday at a women's Olympic field hockey qualifier, effectively ending its hope of qualifying for the Paris Olympics. This undated photo shows the Canadian women’s field hockey team at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Field Hockey Canada-Yan Huckendubler **MANDATORY CREDIT**

VALENCIA, Spain – Canada led 1-0 for three quarters but conceded five late goals to lose 5-1 to Spain at a women’s Olympic field hockey qualifier Tuesday, effectively ending its bid to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

The defeat left the 16th-ranked Canadian women (1-2-0) in third place in Pool B, needing an upset five-goal win by 19th-ranked Malaysia (0-2-0) over Britain (1-1-0) later in the day to stay alive.

A miracle result was not forthcoming with Britain pounding Malaysia 8-1. Eighth-ranked Spain (3-0-0) has already won Pool B.

The 17th-ranked Canadian men saw their qualifying bid end in a 3-2 loss to Chile at a tournament in Muscat, Oman. That results, coupled with a 2-2 tie between No. 5 Germany and No. 10 New Zealand, means Canada cannot finish in the top two of Pool B no matter what happens in its final game Thursday against New Zealand.

The Canada men were blanked 9-0 by Germany in their opener in Oman.

There are also qualifiers running simultaneously in India (women) and Spain (men). Only the top two teams in each of the two pools advance to the semifinals, with the top three at each qualifier booking their ticket to Paris.

The Canadian women have sat out the last seven Olympics since finishing seventh in 1992 in Barcelona. They were fifth in 1984 and sixth in 1988 before that.

The Canadian men have competed in eight Olympics including three of the last four, finishing 10th in 2008, 11th in 2016 and 12th in 2021. They downed Ireland in a dramatic shootout in 2019, capping a two-game series to qualify for Tokyo.

Anna Mollenhauer scored for Canada after a pair of penalty corner chances Tuesday, deflecting a top of the circle shot from Sara McManus in the 14th minute.

Spain then went on the attack with Canadian goalkeeper Rowan Harris making several difficult saves off penalty corner sets. The breakthrough came in the fourth quarter with Spain scoring four goals in seven minutes – the 47th, 51st, 52nd and 54th.

Alvarez Patricia made it 5-1 with a goal in the 60th minute.

While Britain is unranked by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), it draws on No. 7 England, No. 17 Scotland and No. 26 Wales.

Captain Gordon Johnston scored both goals for the Canadian men, in the seventh and 58th minute. Chile (1-1-0) replied with goals in the 14th, 28th and 45th minute

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2024.

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