Kane Russell has scored four goals in match two of the TSB Community Trust Series as the Vantage Black Sticks have run away with a 6-3 win over a determined Japanese side. Russell was named the Kowalewski Holdings Limited Man of the Match for his massive effort on both ends of the turf.
The Vantage Black Sticks still smarting from the first match came out in match two focused and determined, their screen was outstanding and in the first minute they forced a Japanese turnover, Kane Russell then eliminated several Japan defenders before smashing a reverse shot into the goal. Moments later Stephen Jenness finished off some classy passing in the attacking circle as he made the score 2-0 to the Vantage Black Sticks. The Japan side completed a highly entertaining first quarter when in the fifth minute Hiromasa Ochiai jumped on a New Zealand turnover and crashed a forehand shot into the Kiwi goal bringing Japan back within touching distance in the match.
New Zealand then continued to show their attacking flair at the start of the second quarter as Jacob smith found himself on the end of some more outstanding passing by the New Zealand team as his goal put New Zealand in a commanding position in the match. Kane Russell scored his second off a powerful drag flick that Yusuke Takano couldn’t keep out of the goal. Heading into the half time break the Vantage Black Sticks had put themselves into a 3-1 position.
Japan opened the scoring at the start of the second half when a powerful low drag flick found its way past the New Zealand runners and squeezed into the goal. The Black Sticks bounced back and earned a penalty corner, the subsequent drag flick found the foot of the Japan defender resulting in a penalty stroke. Kane Russell then calmly stepped up to the spot and converted the stroke to reestablish the kiwi lead. The kiwis continued playing with speed on the attacking end of the field and went close on several occasions as the third quarter wound down.
The New Zealand team went into the final quarter with a 5-2 lead and looking like a rejuvenated team in the second match of the TSB Community Trust Series. Russell scored his fourth goal of the match in the 48th minute when he converted his second penalty corner of the game. Japan managed to score a second drag flick goal at the end of the match, however, it was too late as the New Zealand side ran away with the contest 6-3.
The series will return for the third match of the TSB Community Trust Series on Monday at 6:30 pm.
Tickets for the remaining matches in the TSB Community Trust Series and the Olympic Qualification matches can be purchased from Dash Tickets. All the remaining match for the Japan series can be viewed on Sky Sport 9 and the Vantage Black Sticks Facebook page.
Vantage Black Sticks Men 6 (Kane Russell, 1, 29, 34, 48 min, Stephen Jenness 2 min, Jacob Smith 19 min)
Japan 3 (Hiromasa Ochiai 5 min, Hirotaka Zendana 33, 60 min)