|March 2nd, 2013|
|8||Round Robin||1:00pm||IRL - ESP||1 - 0 (1 - 0)||Final|
Ireland – Spain 1-0 (halftime 1-0)
It was the closest thing to a winner takes all game yet at the Hockey World League Round 2 tournament when Ireland and Spain met in a critical match-up. In the end Ireland came away with the important three points, essentially keeping their hopes for a top-two finish alive
With Belarus playing the role of Cinderella so far, it has left the two top-seeded teams fighting for survival. #14 Ireland suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of Belarus earlier, while #16 Spain ceded a point to Italy in a shootout yesterday, making the race for Round 3 very tight.
Spain pulled out all the stops for today’s game against Irish, even bringing in a mini-marching band, but it was to no avail as the Irish played a conservative, well thought-out game against a Spanish team that go increasingly desperate the longer the scoreboard was stuck on zero.
Audrey O’Flynn was the first to score in the back-and-forth first half. She took advantage of a penalty stroke and easily struck gold with 11 minutes left in the first half to give the Irish the 1-0 advantage. The lead stood through the half, despite a few late penalty corner chances for the Spanish.
Spain applied heavy pressure in the second half, but the Irish defense stood its ground through some tense moments.
The win pulls the Irish even with Italy in the standings; both teams have six points. Belarus, which was idle today, leads the pack with seven points, while Spain finds itself in the unenviable position of trailing the leading trio with five points. Any one of the four teams can still qualify for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals tomorrow. The early game is Italy vs. Ireland and the finale of the tournament will feature Spain against Belarus.