FIH World League R2, Vancouver - Final - India vs. Chile

It was not a winning chapter for Pan American teams in medal rounds today as India edged Chile 3-1 in a shootout to take the title at the 2017 Gryphon Hockey World League 2 in West Vancouver, Canada. Belarus converted on corners to finish third over Uruguay, while Canada dropped Mexico to finish fifth. 

5/6th Place: Canada vs Mexico (4-0)

Canada controlled the opening half but Mexican keeper Jesus Castillo showed her experience denying Canada on multiple attempts, while the Mexican defence line seemed to show relentless spirits in clearing their circle. The Canadians had back-to-back corners attempts in the 4th minute but Karli Johansen’s flick was saved and Sara McManus’ hit was too high. Johansen had another corner flick turned away by Castillo’s blocker in the 11th minute, while a different variation to the far post was just missed in the 13th. Mexico’s lone chance came in the 18th minute on a left side rush from Maria Correa. Correa’s hit across the circle to Michel Navarro was interrupted by the toe of Canadian net minder Kaitlyn Williams to keep the game scoreless at half.

The home team continued to pour on the offensive pressure but were denied by the flat sticks of Maribel Acosta and Eliana Cota. Canada finally broke the deadlock in the 39th minute after a sly run from defender Shanlee Johnson whose back-hand cross was deflected on target. Castillo was there for the first save but forward Brienne Stairs collected the rebound and notched her seventh of the tournament to put Canada up 1-0. In the 45th minute Stairs showed her flare after going solo through the top of the circle and blasting home Canada’s second goal for a 2-0 lead entering the final quarter. Calm hands in the circle allowed Stairs to score two more to help Canada to a 4-0 victory and finish fifth in the tournament. 

3/4th Place: Belarus vs Uruguay (4-2)

Following an unsuccessful penalty corner in the opening minutes, Nastassia Syrayezhka was able to smash in a rebound in free play to give Belarus a 1-0 lead just four minutes in. Uruguay were quickly in the other end earning their first penalty corner but Carolina Mutilva couldn’t connect on her drag flick. Just before the end of the first quarter Uruguay’s Milagros Algorta unleashed an expert drag flick to tie the game 1-1. In the second quarter Belarus had three penalty corners in succession but all three were well stopped by Uruguay keeper Rosanna Paselle. Waving off their set-piece misses, Belarus came back down into Uruguay’s end and Sviatlana Bahushevich scored from close range to put her team back in front, up 2-1.

Set pieces were evidently important as Belarus went up 3-2 on a penalty corner that was perfectly struck by captain Ryta Batura in the 36th minute. After that Uruguay picked up the pace and earned a series of corners. Manuela Vilar’s penalty corner strike was deflected in by Algorta for her and her team’s second of the game, leaving Uruguay trailing 3-2 as the teams entered the final quarter. Belarus keeper Maryna Navitskaya did well in goal to stop several Uruguay penalty corner chances and in the other end Rosanna Paselle made a great kicker save on a penalty stroke taken by Yuliya Mikheichyk. Belarus captain Batura silenced Uruguay’s medal hopes in the 52nd minute as she finished again on a penalty corner to carry her team to a 4-2 victory and ultimately a third-place finish at the tournament.

Final: India vs Chile (1-1) (3-1 SO)

Being seven world ranking spots behind didn’t stop World No. 19 Chile from getting on the board first against India. Denise Krimerman’s solo efforts into the circle were rewarded when her team mate Maria Maldonado flicked in the resulting loose ball for Las Diablas to go up 1-0 in the 5th minute. Chile followed up with several chances in front of the Indian goal mouth but keeper Savita gave little room. India’s first chance at goal came in the 22nd minute when Kaur Gurjit’s penalty corner flick was saved by Chilean goalie Claudia Schuler. Moments later Katariya Vandana’s speed allowed her into the circle with an open shot but Schuler was again there to make the save. 

India finally found their equalizer in a penalty corner in the 41st minute. A textbook option from Rani to the far post allowed Anupa to deflect in and tie the game 1-1. In the 49th, Deepika, playing in her 200th game for India, rifled a back-hand shot from in tight but it was saved well by Schuler. The game could not be settled in regular time leaving it all down to a shootout. Rani scored on her one-on-one attempt and on a stroke, while Savita made a key save to crown India the World League Round 2 champions in West Vancouver, Canada.

Following the tournament, individual awards were celebrated to the best player, Ryta Batura of Belarus, best junior player, Denise Krimerman of Chile, best goalkeeper, Savita of India, and top goal scorer, Brienne Stairs of Canada. India and Chile were also honoured for their qualification through to the Hockey World League Semifinals later this year. 

Tournament Awards:

Best Player – Ryta Batura (BLR)

Best Junior Player – Denise Krimerman (CHI)

Best Goalkeeper – Savita (IND)

Top Goal Scorer – Brienne Stairs (CAN) 10 goals

Final Standings:

1 India*

2 Chile*

3 Belarus

4 Uruguay

5 Canada

6 Mexico

7 Trinidad and Tobago

*Qualified for Hockey World League Round 3 (Semifinals)