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Bajans bow out

men’s hockey team suffer defeat at hands of us; fail to advance to championship pools

Barbados’ Under-21 men’s hockey team rebounded from a disappointing opening match against Chile with a much better performance but still finished second best against the United States, losing 5 – 4, as action in the Junior Pan American Hockey Championships continued in Guadalajara, Mexico, yesterday evening.

For their second game in as many matches, Barbados opened the scoring in the 6th minute when corner-taker Akeem Rudder, flicked one past USA goalkeeper Christopher Rea, giving the Bajan team an early 1 – 0 lead. Just three minutes later, USA would respond with a field goal from Hans Kaeppeler, after a good save by Barbados goalkeeper Keenan Knight, from an earlier USA penalty corner.

The USA controlled the match for the majority of the first half and would go on to score three more goals from Ranveer Kundi (field gold), Michael Barminski (penalty corner) and Austin Groeneveld (field gold), before the end of the first 35, making the half-time score Barbados 1, USA 4.

The Barbadian lads would return in the second half with a renewed sense of purpose and a much improved passing and marking game. Earning a penalty corner in the 43rd, Che Warner, playing in his 3rd Junior Pan Am, would convert, bringing the score to USA 4 – Barbados 2. USA would immediately retaliate with a penalty corner goal of their own, to maintain the half-time margin.

Leading the Barbados push forward, Warner would dazzle the USA defence and force a penalty stroke which he easily put past Rea.

The final 20 minutes would belong to Barbados, as they kept pressing the USA and earning penalty corners. Controversy would rear its head in the 59th minute when a Barbados penalty corner shot that hit the foot of a USA defender on the goal line was adjudged by the umpire as “not on target” and another penalty corner was awarded, instead of a penalty stroke. Controversy came again in the 63rd minute, when another Barbados penalty corner shot, initially awarded as a goal, was overturned by the umpire for being too high (first time penalty corner shots on goal must cross the goal line at 18 inches).

Pressing on

After seeing off a late USA surge, Barbados would continue to press and earn a series of penalty corners, the last of which would be awarded just as time expired. The Barbados team would bury this last opportunity at goal, this one off the stick of Game 1 goal scorer, Justin Catlin.

According to the Barbados coach Peter Chase, “the boys played their hearts out” and there were a few crucial decisions that could’ve gone either way, but unfortunately went in favour of the USA. He also mentioned the lack of international competition prior to the start of the tournament as a definite disadvantage, commenting that USA was able to tour New Zealand while Barbados had to decline an invitation to a 4-Nation Warm-up Tournament in Vancouver from Canada, citing funding.

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