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Black Sticks power into Darwin final

Black Sticks power into Darwin final

Black-Sticks-power-into-Darwin-finalThe Black Sticks Women face a rematch against hosts Australia at the International Hockey Open in Darwin

Photo courtesy Tim Nicol

The Black Sticks Women face a rematch against hosts Australia after defeating Japan 2-1 in their final game of round robin at the International Hockey Open in Darwin.

New Zealand scored goals either side of halftime through Kelsey Smith and Petrea Webster, while Maki Sakaguchi delivered Japan’s only goal two minutes from fulltime.

The result ensures the Black Sticks will play the Hockeyroos in tomorrow’s gold medal match at 10pm (NZ time), with live coverage through Epicentre.tv

Head coach Mark Hager said it was pleasing to come away with the desired result which sets up a chance to win the series.

“It wasn’t pretty tonight, we were a bit scrappy but did enough and were able to contain a Japan side which pushed us hard,” he said.

“They put us under a lot of pressure which was valuable in highlighting some things we need to work on going forward.

“Playing Australia in the final will be another high quality game for us and a chance for players who are vying for Olympic selection to step up and prove themselves.”

Capital’s Kelsey Smith opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a terrific baseline run which saw her collect her own deflection and flick into the goal on the reverse stick.

The Black Sticks carried their momentum into the second half and doubled the lead when Petrea Webster showed composure to collect a loose ball and fire home in the 34th minute.

The Kiwis continued to create chances throughout the game but couldn’t put any further goals into the back of Japan’s net.

Maki Sakaguchi pulled one back from a well-executed penalty corner variation two minutes from fulltime but the Black Sticks held firm in defence to take the win.

The International Hockey Open is part of New Zealand’s build up for the Champions Trophy in London from 19-27 June and the Rio Olympic Games in August.

CLICK HERE for more on the International Hockey Open

BLACK STICKS 2:
(Kelsey Smith, Petrea Webster)
JAPAN 1: (Maki Sakaguchi)
Halftime: Black Sticks 1-0

  • June 3rd, 2016 in
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