10 Dec 2014

Black Sticks men win opening game

11:31 am on 10 December 2014

A strong second half performance has propelled the New Zealand men's hockey team to a tight win over Canada in Nelson in the opening match of their four-Test series.

Arun Panchia

Arun Panchia Photo: PHOTOSPORT

North Harbour's Joe Bartholomew proved the game-changer with two cracking goals from penalty corner drag flicks.

Canada played a strong game and opened the scoring early with Gabriel Ho-Garcia catching the Black Sticks off-guard with a shot from the top of the circle.

Trailing by one goal at half-time, New Zealand began to pour the pressure on and create quality scoring chances.

Bartholomew delivered the equaliser early in the second half with a flick low and to the right before driving home the winning goal into the back of the net soon after.

Midfielder Ryan Archibald and striker Nick Wilson both played their first game for New Zealand in two years.

The Black Sticks will look to continue their momentum in game two at 6.30pm in Nelson, before the teams head to Christchurch for the final two Tests at Marist Park, St. Bede's College on Saturday and Sunday.