Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kiwi gamble pays off

New Zealand substituted their goalkeeper with an extra outfield player to draw 1-1 with Canada and move into the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games men’s hockey here Saturday.
The Black Sticks, trailing Canada 1-0 with just four minutes to go, replaced keeper Kyle Pontifex with striker Stephen Jenness and got the result they wanted with Hayden Shaw netting the equaliser in the 68th minute.
The draw left Canada on five points while New Zealand got the seven they needed to move into the last four, where they will take on defending champions Australia on Tuesday.
Canada almost blundered the chance to take a lead when forward Iain Smythe failed to put the ball in from near the goal-mouth but Sukhwinder Singh showed fine reflexes and made up for his team-mate’s mistake.
Canada maintained their 1-0 lead, taken in the eighth minute, almost till the end and looked set to emerge as the winners when the New Zealand coach made the move to substitute the keeper.
The ploy paid off as New Zealand forced a penalty corner with just two minutes from the final hooter and Shaw made no mistake in scoring.