by Ali Baggott, for Field Hockey Canada
There was no time on the clock and Canadians had already begun to hang their heads. In a dramatic twist of luck, a video referral favoured the home side and a penalty stroke call gave Canada back their Olympic hopes. Captain Scott Tupper’s goal from the spot drew the series 6-6 in aggregate score and forced a shootout. Adam Froese’s composure as the second sudden death shooter gave Canada the victory and qualified Canada for Tokyo.
The 5-4 shootout victory was a replay of their Olympic qualification in 2015 during the World League Round 3 quarter-finals against New Zealand. A late tie, down 3-1 in a shootout, sudden death shootouts, David Carter making big saves in Canada’s goal and Froese sealing the game winner – were all identical moments in their 2016 Olympic journey.
This will be just the second time in history that Canada qualifies for back-to-back Olympic appearances following 1980 and 1984. This will be a potential third Olympic appearance for veterans Scott Tupper and Mark Pearson, who was injured in the final of the Pan American Games and unable to compete in this weekend’s qualifier.
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