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Black Sticks battle back for narrow win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/03/2017

The Black Sticks have powered back from a two-goal deficit to beat the United States 3-2 at the Waimakariri Hockey Stadium in Rangiora on Sunday.

After Saturday's 6-2 first-up loss to the US, things looked ominous for the Kiwis when they found themselves down 2-0 after the opening quarter.

The New Zealanders fought back, nailing three unanswered goals to seal a confidence-boosting win.

The US started strongly, opening the scoring inside the first five minutes when Kathleen Sharkey converted a penalty corner attempt.

Ten minutes later they doubled their advantage, thanks to a well-worked field goal from the stick of Alyssa Parker.

New Zealand sparked to life in the second quarter, equalising with two quick-fire goals in the 23rd and 24th minutes.

Striker Olivia Merry, playing her 150th international, netted from the field before Liz Thompson smashed home a penalty corner shot.

Coming out after the halftime break, the Black Sticks piled on the pressure, with Stacey Michelsen delivering the winning goal 12 minutes from the full-time whistle.

The Black Sticks now head to Hastings to defend their title at the four-nation Hawke's Bay Cup at the Festival of Hockey from March 31 to April.

The world No.5 Kiwis, who lost the bronze medal match to Germany at last year's Rio Olympics, will play fourth-ranked Australia, the world No.6 United States, and No.11 Japan.

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