The third-seeded New Zealand mens hockey team grabbed the Commonwealth Games bronze medal today, beating England in a penalty shootout after scores had been deadlocked at 3-3 at the end of fulltime and extra time.
The result was ironic for New Zealand hockey because yesterday the womens Black Sticks dipped out in their gold medal match against Australia when they lost a penalty shootout.
For New Zealand, it was nearly the match they let slip away. They held a two-goal lead and looked likely victors until Steve Edwards was yellow-carded after a collision with England captain Barry Middleton. It allowed England to fight back from 3-1 down, with Simon Mantell scoring all three England goals.
New Zealand opened the scoring with a Dean Couzins penalty stroke and made it 2-0 soon after when Nick Haig slammed home a shot from the edge of the circle.
The Black Sticks gained their second penalty stroke early in the second half, after Hugo Inglis was sent crashing to the ground by England goalie James Fair. Hayden Shaw made no mistake from the spot.
Then came the yellow card and Englands late fightback.
The hero of the penalty shootout was New Zealand goalie goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex, who saved one England shot, low to his right.
New Zealand captain Phil Burrows paid credit to his teams defence, and especially to Pontifex.
"Man, we defended well today and Pontifex in goal was just superb," he said.
The bronze is the second games medal for Burrows, Couzins and Shaw, who were part of the silver medal-winning effort in Manchester in 2002.
England compiled an unenviable record in Delhi. They were not beaten in any match, yet finished out of the medals, after losing penalty shootouts to India and New Zealand.
Australia won the final, beating India decisively in the final.Tony Ineson Trevor Manning Selwyn Maister