USA U21 Men’s New Zealand Tour
Auckland, New Zealand
August 14, 2012
USA U-21 Men – Match Report
By Mike Whitehead – Manager
USA vs. North Harbor NHL
Match Time: 7:15 pm
U21’s continued play at North Harbor Hockey Club on Tuesday evening. This time their opponent was the NH Premier National Hockey League (NHL) team, one of the topsides in New Zealand consisting of a few current and past NZL men’s national team players as well as their clubs top athletes.
The first half started off with the North Harbor (NH) squad playing fast and physical, which the U21’s were prepared for. The U21’s were caught off guard and allowed NH to score off a FG in the second minute (U21’s 0–1 NH). The U21’s came back fighting swapping possession with the NH team with a few offensive chances but without much circle penetration. In the 10th minute NH forced another FG making the score 0 – 2. The U21’s continued play matching the NH’s fast physical play and in the 18th minute. Ranjot Sangha played a quick pass from outside the 23 meter line connecting with JaJa Kentwell at the top of the circle for a FG making the score 1 – 2. Play continued with both teams swapping possession for the remainder of the half but with less then a minute the NH team scored another FG in the 35th minute finishing the half 1 – 3.
With the second half under way, the U21’s came out eager to prove they can compete. The play continued as the first half with both sides playing fast and physical. The U21’s forced a PC in the 42nd minute converting their second goal of the match by Aki Kaeppeler with a low drag flick in the bottom right corner making the score 2 – 3. Play by both sides was evenly matched and the U21’s was pushing to equalize the match, but in the 51st minute the NH team was able to score another FG putting the U21’s down two goals. The U21’s were not discouraged and fought hard but in the 65th minute the NH team put in another FG making the score 2 – 5. The U21’s were unable to pull back another goal, ending the match 2 -5 in favor of the host team. The U21’s came away knowing they played well and gave it their all, and could have kept them in the match. Ultimately the U21’s came away with some valuable experience and will continue executing the needed changes as the continue their tour in New Zealand.
Next match for the U21’s will be at the Auckland Hockey Club, just south east of the city, on Thursday August 16th at 8:00 pm. The team will play against the Auckland HC Academy Select team, a U23 group, and be the first of three matches before heading back to the states on Sunday.