You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Black Sticks manage draw with lowly Canada

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/04/2016

New Zealand's hopes of defending their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup men's hockey title have been dented by a 1-1 draw with Canada.

It was the Black Sticks' second draw of the tournament against a lower-rated team, having opened with a 3-3 stalemate against hosts Malaysia in Ipoh.

While the finishing wasn't a problem for eighth-ranked New Zealand against world No.13 Malaysia on Wednesday, it was a serious impediment against 14th-ranked Canada.

New Zealand converted just one of their 11 penalty corner chances in the match, struggling for cohesion in the attacking circle.

Their general play was also modest in the first half, which Canada dominated to open the scoring through Gordon Johnston late in the second quarter.

Momentum swung after halftime but the Black Sticks were repeatedly denied by a well-organised Canada defence and their goalkeeper Antoni Kindler.

Nic Woods snared the equaliser from New Zealand's ninth penalty corner in the last minute of the third quarter.

Coach Colin Batch says his team paid for a slow start.

"We looked tired and I think there was some residual effects from our first game but we need to get better at handling that," he said.

"We did some good things in the second half and are still creating a lot of chances but they aren't going our way which is frustrating."

New Zealand slip to fifth in the seven-nation tournament after two rounds. The top two teams qualify for the final following a full round-robin.

Their next game is against Pakistan, who opened with a 3-1 win over Canada before sitting out a bye.

The other winners on Thursday were Australia, 5-1 over India, and tournament leaders Malaysia, 4-3 over Japan.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon