T&T will go after its third win in as many matches when it faces Argentina in a clash of Pool A joint leaders at the Pan American Junior (Under-21) Hockey Championship at the Pan American Hockey Stadium, Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico, from 3.15 pm today.
Both teams are locked at the top of the five-team table with six points. However, Argentina, which secured wins over Guatemala (24-0) and Jamaica (8-0), has a superior goal difference of plus-32 to T&T’s plus-12. The local junior stickmen led by co-captains, Aidan De Gannes and Dominic Jaikaransingh, defeated Jamaica 8-1 in its opener and followed up with a 5-0 shutout of Brazil on Wednesday and after yesterday’s day off will be eager to test the South Americans, the favourites for the title.
Yesterday in the two early matches, Mexico clobbered Puerto Rico 15-0 for its second straight win in Pool B to join Canada on maximum six points at the top while in Pool C, USA held off a determined Barbados 5-4 for its second win in the group and six points, three ahead of Chile which played Venezuela in a late match. Brazil and Guatemala, two of three winless teams in Pool A met in last night’s other match. Today, Canada plays Mexico from 1.30 pm and USA faces Chile, at 5 pm. Tomorrow, T&T will have another day off before closing out round-robin play against Guatemala on Sunday from 10 am. At the end of the first round, the top team in Pool A and Pool C as well as the runner-up from Pool B will advance to second round Pool D while the winner of Pool B and the runners-up from Pool A and C will contest Pool E from which the two qualifiers for the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) 10th Men's Junior World Cup will be determined. The third-placed finisher will be the first reserve team.
T&T women look to rebound
T&T junior women’s team will be hoping to rebound from its shock 2-3 loss to Venezuela in Pool B on Wednesday when they come up against unbeaten group leaders USA from 11.45 am today. The local squad led by co-captains, Tamara De Nobriga and Amanda George, started well with a 3-0 win over Jamaica on Tuesday but was then upstaged by the South Americans a day later.
On the other hand, USA crushed Venezuela 9-0 and then punished Paraguay 8-0 to occupy second spot on the table with six points, three behind Chile, and will be overwhelming favourites against the T&T junior women’s squad. Yesterday Chile made it three straight victories, beating Venezuela 7-1 while in Pool A Uruguay moved to the top of the standings on seven points after whipping Brazil 6-0. T&T will also meet Paraguay on Sunday (11.45 am) and Chile on Monday from 3.15 pm, ahead of cross-over playoffs. Three countries will qualify for the FIH Seventh Women’s Junior World Cup. If a PAHF National Association is the host, that country will qualify automatically, together with the two highest-placed teams.