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BULLETIN: Aug. 10, 2017 — USA 1, Canada 1 (Canada wins 4-3 in penalty shootout)

Any time teams on opposite sides of the 49th parallel meet on the field of athletic competition, especially in a game requiring the use of a stick, the battle lines sharpen a bit, the motivation more intense.

And, for a U.S. men’s field hockey team which was chasing a World Cup berth next year, it was, in a real sense, “Win or go home.”

Facing a Canadian side which had won all but two or three games against their neighbors since the mid-1960s, the Boys in Blue were able to hold Canada to one goal in the Pan American Cup semifinals thanks to a defense led by goalkeeper Brandon Karess.

But in the penalty shootout following the 1-1 draw, it was Canada which was clinical in its finishing, putting away four of their chances to win the shootout 4-3.

Canada’s win, combined with Argentina’s 8-1 win over Trinidad & Tobago, qualifies New Zealand into the 2018 FIH Men’s World Cup. As a knock-on, this means that Pakistan, the next team in the wait list, is all but qualified unless Papua New Guinea is able to win the Oceania Cup in October.

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