Penalty shoot-out win secures finals berth for Black Sticks

Goalkeeper Grace O‘Hanlon has repeated her Commonwealth Games heroics at the Tri-Nations women‘s hockey tournament in Cromwell to secure the Black Sticks a spot in tomorrow‘s final against Australia.

The 25-year-old Australia-born keeper stepped up after the Black Sticks scored twice in the last three minutes of regulation time to secure a 3-3 draw with world No.12 Japan and force the penalty shootout.

Grace O‘Hanlon Photo: Photosport

O‘Hanlon saved all four Japanese shots on goal, while Olivia Merry and skipper Ella Gunson converted for the fourth-ranked New Zealanders to send them through to the final 2-0.

A penalty shoot-out specialist, O‘Hanlon delivered a similar stunning effort on the Gold Coast last month, as the Black Sticks downed England 2-1 in a semi-final penalty shootout at the Commonwealth Games before going on to win gold against Australia in the final.

A Mai Toriyama double on Saturday, backed up by Yuri Nagai‘s 35th minute field goal, gave Japan a 3-1 lead late in the third quarter with only Shiloh Gloyn‘s scrappy goal from a penalty corner deflection keeping the Black Sticks in the game.

But Sam Harrison‘s 57th minute belter, and a Merry penalty stroke on 60 minutes, forced the penalty shoot-out decider, with O‘Hanlon‘s quick feet and long-reach again proving a match winner.

Australia, ranked fifth in the world, have already played New Zealand twice in the tournament, winning 4-1 and 3-0.


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