Day 1 - Friday 9 December
PAHF: The 3rd Indoor Pan American Cups opened today in Rim Park, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Five men's teams (Canada, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, USA and Venezuela) and four women's teams (Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, USA and Venezuela) are competing.
The top two men's teams and the winning women's team will earn a berth for the 2007 Indoor World Cup in Vienna, Austria.
In the last competition (March 2002 in Rockville, USA), Canada topped the men's standings, with the USA edging Trinidad & Tobago for the second World Cup berth. On the women's side, Trinidad & Tobago won the gold medal while Mexico staged a major upset and push favorite USA out of World Cup qualification.
This year's competition unfortunately suffered from the late withdrawal of Argentina, who would most certainly have brought some excitement to the indoor game with their exceptional skills.
Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela were the first in action, after traveling to the venue in a snow storm, unusual weather for them! T&T was the first on the scoreboard, but missed opportunities (including two penalty strokes) to make a clear break. Venezuela stayed within a couple goals during most of game, but a final rush from T&T pushed the score to 7-3.
In the next game, Pat Harris led USA to 3 quick goals, but the game stabilized and score at half-time was still 3-0. Guyana scored immediately after the break, then the game flowed back and forth but the teams could only score one goal each (with Guyana scoring a penalty corner 'on the buzzer') for a final score of 4-2.
On the women's side, Trinidad & Tobago opened with a run-away victory over Venezuela, and then Canada and USA offered a spirited encounter to the crowd. Canada opened the score on a broken penalty corner while USA replied with a well executed one. The second half was an excellent display of indoor hockey, the game flowing back and forth at high speed. Canada wasted a few good opportunities, including 3 penalty-corners, while USA managed to score the winning goal with 10 minutes to go.
The men's game between Canada and Guyana was a high scoring entertaining affair, with Guyana displaying good skills and taking immediate advantage of the Canadian defensive mistakes. Canada nevertheless displayed more experience and scored some spectacular goals to finish on-top with a 13-7 score line, with 5 goals from Wayne Fernandes.
After the Opening Ceremonies with the local dignitaries, the women from Canada and Trinidad & Tobago took the field. Canada had most of the advantage in the first period, but couldn't manage to score, while T&T made the most of their few opportunities and were unlucky on two clear occasions. First half was goalless, but Canada immediately found the net in second period, quickly pushing their lead to 4-0 before cruising to a comfortable 5-0 victory.
The end of the day was tough for Venezuela: their women put a valiant effort against USA, but lost 0-10. Meanwhile, the men, playing their third game of the day, were too tired to match a convincing Canadian Team. Final score 0-14.
The final game of the day produced a surprise with Trinidad & Tobago quickly going up a few goals over the USA, who never managed to come back into the game. Led by a brilliant Kwan Browne, Trinidad & Tobago managed to push the score to 8-0 in fine style.
Day 1 Results
Trinidad & Tobago 7 Venezuela 3
USA 4 Guyana 2
USA 6 Venezuela 2
Canada 13 Guyana 7
Canada 14 Venezuela 0
Trinidad & Tobago 8 USA 0
Trinidad & Tobago 9 Venezuela 1
USA 2 Canada 1
Canada 5 Trinidad & Tobago 0
USA 10 Venezuela 0
Canada 6 points
Trinidad & Tobago 6
USA 6 points
Trinidad & Tobago 3