Canada Rides First-Half Surge to Win over Team USA

Dec. 20, 2014, 11 a.m. (ET)

Team USA Unable to Overcome First-Half Deficit, Loses 24-14 to Canada

By: Maurice Godwin
USA Team Handball Communications Specialist

AUBURN, Ala. -- Canada Red jumped to a 16-7 lead in the first period and never looked back en route to another win in the 2014 Winter Classic.

Canada Red's first win came by decision on the first night of the series against Guadeloupe. Both teams scored 24 goals, but Canada registered one less penalty (4-3), and therefore walked away with the victory. Following a full day off, Canada showed up energized ready to secure another win, this time against Team USA.

The match featured a steady diet of sound offense early in the first half, with both teams putting pressure on the opposing goalkeeper. USA scored three goals off of fast-break attacks, while Canada made a living from the wing.

With Team USA down one, 7-6, Canada's coach, Mike Nahmiash, called a time-out with 14 minutes remaining in the half. After the time-out, both teams went in opposite directions offensively.

Canada forced numerous turnovers and racked up another nine goals (four via fast-break) before the end of the half. Their set offense remained impressive as well, continuously finding gaps and putting pressure on USA's defense.

Team USA, however, struggled to get in any sort of rhythm offensively. Canada's defense was solid, but unforced turnovers by the U.S. led to many extra possessions for Canada as well. Despite aggressive attacking by USA's Farida Abou-Zeida and Jennifer Farrar, Team USA only managed one goal in the last 14 minutes of the first half.

Despite the lop-sided score, there were some bright spots for Team USA. 

Elizabeth Hartnett was a great sparkplug off Team USA's bench. She and Farrar lifted Team USA's defense in the second half. Both players were seemingly everywhere on defense--causing deflections and interceptions, hustling for loose balls, and wreaking havoc on Canada's offensive attack. 

Pivot Tomuke Ebuwei continued her strong defensive performance for Team USA by frustrating Canada Red's interior attack. Her physicality allowed nothing easy for the Canada offense. Most of Canada's second-half goals came from the wing. 

Though Team USA's stellar second-half defense held Canada to only eight goals, the offense was just not effective enough for USA to climb out of the hole. USA scored just seven goals in the second half as well, and Canada Red earned their second win of the series.

Final Score: CAN (Red) -- 24, USA (Red) -- 14

Goals – CAN (Red): Koosaw (4), Poirier (4), B. St. Martin (4), Routhier (3), Sanderson (2), Ehrman (2), Desnoyers (1), Taillefer (1), Benhacine (1), Kitagawa (1), Rogiani (1)

Goals – USA (Red): Abou-Zeida (4), Hesser (4), Farrar (2), Hardison (1), Dunn (1), Elder (1), Lewis (1)

Next Matches:

Today, Dec. 20, 1:00 p.m. CST, Guadeloupe vs. USA Red
Today, Dec. 20, 3:00 p.m. CST, Canada Red vs. USA Blue

USA Team Handball would like to thank referees David Portillo and Gabe Goodreau for officiating the entire 2014 Winter Series.