22 Nov 2014

Black Sticks secure series against Japan

6:44 am on 22 November 2014

The New Zealand men's hockey team has beaten Japan 2-1 on the Kapiti coast to secure the series.

The Black Sticks wrapped up the third test late in the game with Steve Edwards slotting home the winning goal with three minutes left on the clock, the earlier goal coming from powerful drag flicker Kane Russell.

After a 1-all draw and a 3-nil win in their games in Wellington earlier this week, the New Zealanders were searching for a victory to secure the series.

New Zealand hockey players Simon Child and Jacob Smith celebrate a goal against Japan 2014.

New Zealand hockey players Simon Child and Jacob Smith celebrate a goal against Japan 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Coach Colin Batch says they had a very good performance in game two, but when you play someone in a four test series you know each game will be a bit different.

He says Japan were very good opponents today but he's pleased that they won the game and showed some development, it was nice to knock a second goal in right towards the end.

Batch says they're learning a lot, they get a bit excited out there from time to time, but they're making good progress.

After Japan's early goal, New Zealand fought back and when the hooter sounded for quarter time, the Kiwis were awarded a penalty corner which Kane Russell drag flicked, the ball deflecting off the keeper's pad and going high into the corner.

In the second half, North Harbour's Joe Bartholomew really led New Zealand's defensive effort tackling and turning over ball at every opportunity.

With only three minutes left on the clock and with a vocal Kapiti crowd on the edge of their seats, Steve Edwards made it count after a nice one-two from George Muir in the circle to give Kiwis the 2-1 win.

The Black Sticks Men play their final game of the series at the Kapiti Sports Turf on Saturday.

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