|February 26th, 2012|
|17||3rd-4th||5:30pm||POL - CAN||3 - 4 (2 - 2)||Final||x 4|
Poland and Canada had legitimate hopes to be in the Final of this Hero FIH Road to London tournament. They both fell to India in the round-robin, and Poland surprised Canada with a last second penalty-corner goal on the second day of the competition.
Canada had learned their lesson from this first match against Poland, when they fell behind by two goals in first period, and immediately besieged the Polish circle. They had a first unsuccessful penalty corner, but scored on their second attempt when Scott TUPPER’s low flick was deflected in goal by Ken PEREIRA, playing in his 348th, and possibly last, international match.
Poland responded strongly and challenged David CARTER in the Canadian goal. Artur MIKULA scored after stealing a ball from a Canadian defender and the match was back to square one with the teams tied at 1-1.
Play was intense and entertaining. Poland were pressing very high on the Canadian defenders and midfielders, trying to prevent them from developing their game. Canada had a chance on penalty-corner, and Poland could have scored immediately after at the other end but were denied by a fantastic reflex save by David CARTER on a hard shot from close range.
The deadlock was broken in the 28th minute when Rob SHORT, the other veteran of the Canadian team possibly playing his last international match (after 346 Caps), received the ball in front of the goal and turned around for an instant high shot that left no chance to Arkadiusz MATUSZAK in the Polish goal. The Canadian celebration was once again short-lived, Szymon OSZYJCCZYK equalizing on the next play, for a score of 2-2 at half-time!
Play remained intense at the beginning of second period. Matthew GUEST forced a penalty-corner with a powerful run along the back-line, then was on-hand to deflect TUPPER’s flick in goal to give back the lead to Canada (3-2). Poland though that they had once again tied the score shortly after by Karol MAJCHRZAK, but the Canadians successfully used their video-umpiring referral and the goal was denied, allowing Canada to build a two-goal lead on the next action, again by Ken PEREIRA, in enthusiastic form in this match.
The large crowd was kept well entertained by this very exciting game. Poland closed the gap to one goal by Bartosz ZYWICZKA and could have scored again without a goal line clearance by Rob SHORT. Goal-keeper Arkadiusz MATUSZAK was the hero for his team when he saved a penalty-stroke from Scott TUPPER with ten minutes to go, keeping Poland within striking distance in a breathtaking end of match, with play flying back and forth at high speed and narrow misses at both ends.
Canada hanged on to their narrow lead, successfully defending two penalty-corners in the final minute of the match to grab the bronze medal with the 4-3 win.
Player of the Match was Canadian captain Ken PEREIRA.