Senior International Challenge Match: Ireland 0 Canada 0
Ireland drew the second of their three game series 0-0 with Canada in the first international game to be played at the new Civil Service pitch in Stormont last night on an historic occasion for Canadian hockey.
Prior to the start of the match a brief but eloquent ceremony was held to recognise the achievements of Rob Short and Ken Pereira for having now represented Canada for 318 matches, the joint-most in the nation’s history.
Following five debutants last Sunday, former Pembroke Wanderers man and current Loughborough player Stu Loughrey was the only newcomer tonight in a much-changed side.
Peter Caruth went closest to winning the game when he hit the bar three minutes from time while Ireland were not able to profit from the five-minute sin-binning of Canadian net-minder Dave Carter in the second half.
Dutch-based Conor and David Harte, Mitch Darling, Andy McConnell and Alan Sothern all returned for their first Irish appearances of 2011 as did Santander men Geoff McCabe and Mikey Watt.
David Harte pulled out a decent early corner stop as both teams followed a similar pattern to a few days earlier, creating lively attacks but few clear chances.
By the 18th minute Ireland was able to penetrate deep into the Canadian circle earning its first and only short corner for the half. A well executed drag flick went towards the glove side of Carter but Jesse Watson was well placed and safely directed the ball out of danger.
The first half ended scoreless as did the second but it was a half packed with incident. Carter produced a quadruple save, reacting to a trio of rebounds brilliantly despite a crowded circle.
Just three minutes later, though, Carter was given yellow for taking the ball outside the circle with his glove and the Canadians elected to put elder statesman Rob Short in as a ‘kicking back’.
With Carter’s helmet and chest protector, Short took up the keeper position to defend the Irish short corner – it was not stopped and the danger was averted.
The next five minutes brought a new energy to the game as Canada, without its goal keeper, had to defend with a player down but managed to ride out the storm.
Caruth did batter the ball off the underside of the bar and just out while the Canucks created three scoring opportunities before the end but to no avail as David Harte notched a clean sheet.
The final match of this three-game series will take place tonight at 7.30pm in Stormont with Davy Carson coming in for his second cap in place of Michael Maguire in the one change to the panel.
Ireland: David Harte, Conor Harte, Timmy Cockram, Bruce McCandless, Alan Sothern, Mitch Darling, Paul Gleghorne, Andy McConnell, Geoff McCabe, Michael Maguire, Stu Loughrey, Peter Caruth, Mikey Watt, John Jermyn, Tim Lewis, Jason Lynch
Canada: Matthew Guest, Philip Wright, Dave Carter, Adam Froese, Keegan Pereira, Rob Short, Dave Jameson, Gordon Johnson, Ken Pereira, Mark Pearson, Elliot Marsh, Gubbar Singh, Hudson Stewart, Ian Smythe, Scott Tupper, Jesse Watson
** To see BBC interviews with Rob Short, Ken Pereira and Tim Lewis on the Canadian record-breakers, click here