Goals galore and a vibrant atmosphere were the hallmarks of the first Hockey Series Open in Salamanca, Mexico as Canada women and USA men finished winners of the inaugural event.
A massive win over Panama in their final game of the round-robin competition guaranteed Canada top spot in the women’s event.
The Canadian side were unbeaten throughout the competition as they also beat Guatemala 28-0; Puerto Rico 18-2, and eventual runners-up Mexico 8-1.
The final placings in this women’s Hockey Series Open saw Puerto Rico take third spot, Panama fourth while Guatemala finished in fifth place.
The final standings mean that Canada and Mexico will now progress through to next year’s Hockey Series Finals.
Top scorer in the women’s competition was Mexico’s Michel Navarro with 15 goals. In joint second place were a trio of Canadian players: Samantha McCrory, Stephanie Norlander and Brienne Stairs, all on 11 goals.
In the men’s event, which ran concurrently to the women’s event, the USA took first place, with three wins and a draw.
The north American team started the tournament with a resounding 19-0 win over Costa Rica, followed by a 8-0 win over Puerto Rica.
The most thrilling game of the event was the 5-5 draw between Mexico and the USA. A hat trick from Francisco Aguilar had given Mexico a 5-3 lead but goals from captain Ajai Dhadwal and veteran striker William Holt kept the USA on course for victory.
Mexico finished in second place, losing out on the top spot by virtue of an inferior goal difference to that of the USA. Puerto Rico were third, with Panama and Costa Rica in fourth and fifth spot respectively.
Top scorer in Salamanca in the men’s competition was Francisco Aguilar of Mexico with 16 goals. Aki Kaeppeler of USA was in second place on 13 goals.
The results mean that USA and Mexico progress to the prestigious Hockey Series Finals which will take place in 2019.
The event in Salamanca was the first Hockey Series Open, with others taking place across the world over the coming weeks. This stage of the FIH’s new Hockey Series is the first step towards Olympic qualification for participating teams.
The Hockey Series Open continues in Singapore between 23 June and 1 July when six men’s and six women’s teams start their exciting journey towards the Hockey Series Finals and the opportunity to qualify for Tokyo 2020.