Cuba and Mexico Earn Pan Am Spots on Competitive Day of Hockey
Classification continued on Day 8 with the men. As with the women, everyone had something to play for. An exciting day of hockey had two shootouts and a game decided by a single goal.
Match 1 5-8th – Barbados (BAR) vs. Guatemala (GUA)
Barbados had to shake off the disappointment of narrowly missing out on the semi-finals against Guatemala. They started the game using a full press, with GUA trying to pass their way out of it. BAR took control of possession, but GUA defended deep making it difficult for their opponent’s attackers. BAR earned a PC, but the drag flick was well saved by GK Jorge LÓPEZ. Guatemala started pressing more in midfield, forcing Barbados back. It made their defending easier and Q1 ended at 0-0.
Q2 started much more balanced with most of the play happening in midfield. Guatemala also managed a couple circle penetrations and shots, but found captain BOYCE as solid as ever. Barbados then earned a PC and forced a good save from LÓPEZ, but it was Che WARNER who opened the scoring shortly after from a FG. The game continued to be fairly balanced, with a slight edge to the BAR team. Two minutes from halftime WARNER reacted first to a cross to drill a volley into the net. GUA had one more attack, but the HT horn sounded before they can get off the shot. The score was 2-0 for Barbados.
Barbados came out with their full press to start the second half, but Guatemala adjusted well and played their most attacking hockey of the tournament. The game continued to be more of a midfield battle, although BAR created a few decent chances but failed to score. GUA made an attacking push near the end of Q3, spurred on by three BAR suspensions within a minute. They could not convert their numerical advantage to goals and Q3 ended 2-0.
Barbados did not sit back with their players serving suspensions and continued to attack Guatemala. GUA also attacked, but found the BAR defence a difficult obstacle to pass. Just as BAR got all their players back on the field Khodi GIBSON scored a FG to increase their lead. GUA continued to fight and press BAR for a goal, coming close with a few shots. It was Barbados though who had the last word, WARNER completing his hattrick in the last minute of the game. Final score 4-0. Barbados await the winner of Match 2 for the 5-6th playoff. Guatemala will play for 7-8th.
Match 2 5-8th – Dominican Republic (DOM) vs. Jamaica (JAM)
Dominican Republic took on Jamaica, both teams looking for a chance to play Barbados. The game was even, Jamaica content to play on the counterattack. Neither team was able to take control and at the end of Q1 the score was 0-0.
Q2 started how Q1 ended with an even game. JAM got a few circle entries, but did not make GK Wander RODRIGUEZ save. DOM started to dominate possession, pushing the JAM team back into their half. They did earn a few PCs, but could not score. As the halftime got closer JAM seemed to lose their discipline with two players serving suspensions that will carry over into Q3. The halftime horn sounded with the score still 0-0.
Q3 started with JAM taking control of the game. In the 33’ minutes Onuque SALMON narrowly missed a back post deflection. DOM started to attack more, earning a PC in the 35’ minute but failed to get a shot. They then had a circle entry two minutes later, but GK Giovanni GREEN made a good save. The action was going to end to end now with both teams getting circle penetrations that forced saves from the keepers. Q3 ended though with the scores still 0-0.
The clouds settled over the field in Q4 but the action remained hot. There was end to end action as both teams tried to get that important goal. Tempers flared, muscles strained but we still could get no goals. The final horn sounded with the score 0-0. Shoot out time!
Only Jose LÓPEZ was able to score the 5th shot to give his team a 1-0 shootout win and a chance to play Barbados for 5-6th.
Match 3 Semi-final 1 – Cuba (CUB) vs. Guyana (GUY)
Our first semi-final started under cloudy skies. Cuba dominated the possession of the ball and kept Guyana defending deep in their half. Guyana tried to slow the game down and keep possession by making passes, but the high quick pressure of the Cubans denied them. From a Cuba PC Rayon BRANFORD made an amazing stick save to deny the goal. Guyana did not help their game with player suspensions from 1 green and 2 yellow cards, but their indiscretion did not cost them as the horn sounded on Q1 with the score 0-0.
Cuba kept pressuring the Guyanese defence at the start of Q2. Still one player short, Guyana struggled to keep possession. CUB made their numerical advantage count in the 17’ minute when Carlos CONSUEGRA deflected a cross past GK Medroy SCOTLAND. Guyana tried to recover, but struggled to get possession in the Cuban half. SCOTLAND came up big to deny a few more Cuban attacks and the halftime horn sounded with the score 1-0.
Q3 started with Cuba again dominating possession and forcing the Guyanese deep. Guyana though started completing more passes and managed to engage Cuba more in midfield areas. BRANFORD and Dwayne SCOTT both blocked PC attempts early in the quarter. Guyana managed a few circle entries and a shot from Me’shach SARGEANT forced a good save from GK Leordan HERNANDEZ. The horn sounded to end the quarter with the score still 1-0.
Q4 started off as a midfield battle in the middle of a light rain, the first for the tournament. It did not slow the action down as the teams continued to look for a chance to score. Roger AGUILERA and Heriberto SARDUY created a couple chances, but SCOTLAND and his defenders denied them. The final horn sounded with the final score 1-0. Cuba will play in the final against the winner of Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago and also earn the 1st of two Pan American Games spots.
Match 4 Semi-final 2 – Mexico (MEX) vs. Trinidad and Tobago (TTO)
Our final match of the day started with TTO forcing a fast tempo to the game. MEX responded by using more wing play to keep possession and slow the game. MEX scored first when Francisco AGUILAR flicked a PS past Andrey ROCKE. TTO tried to get into the game earning a PC, but the shot was saved by Jose HERNANDEZ. That was the closest TTO got and the quarter ended 1-0.
Q2 saw a midfield battle at the start, but slowly TTO started to keep possession in the MEX half of the field. They earned a couple PCs, but again HERNANDEZ and his defence kept the ball out. In the 19’ minute Akim TOUSSAINT got a shot that was partially saved by HERNANDEZ who was unable to stop Mickell PIERRE from following up to score. TTO continued to dominate the game, but when the halftime horn sounded the score was 1-1.
The second half started with TTO looking for the go ahead goal, but they found an unyielding MEX defence. The first PC of the half went to MEX, but the TTO defence blocked the shot. TTO then earned a PC, but were denied by excellent defending. MEX looked for the counterattack and made a few threatening runs, but could not create any scoring opportunities. Q3 ended with the score still 1-1.
TTO started Q4 in charge of the flow of the game. MEX absorbed the pressure and looked for counterattacking options. It nearly worked for them when Luis VILLEGAS got a one-on-one with ROCKE, but the GK came up big to block the goal. TTO earned a number of PCs but were unable to score. The final horn sounded with the score 1-1 for our second shootout of the day.
F. AGUILAR, VILLEGAS, CASTILLO and J. AGUILAR scored for MEX while TOUSSAINT and Teague MARCANO scored for TTO. MEX won the shootout 4-2, with TTO protesting the winning MEX goal. MEX earn the final Pan American Games spot and a chance for gold against CUB on Sunday.
Sunday’s classification matches are now known. Guatemala will play Jamaica for 7-8th, Barbados vs. Dominican Republic in what should be an exciting 5-6th match, Guyana vs Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba vs Mexico.Tomorrow is the final day of competition for the women. 7-8th GUA vs GUY, 5-6th DOM vs JAM, BAR vs. TTO play for bronze and our Pan American Games representatives MEX vs. CUB end the day playing for gold.