The U.S. beat Martinique 21-20 yesterday to take Gold in the IHF Trophy Championship for Pan-America. The first half of the match saw Martinique control the match and tempo for a 12-7 halftime lead. The second half saw the U.S. and Martinique trade goals for the first 13 minutes with Martinique leading 16-11. The U.S. then went on a 5 goal run to cut the lead to 16-15. The match was then a nip/tuck affair with the U.S. first tying the score 18-18 at the 27 minute mark and taking its first lead, 20-19 with 1:12 left in the game.
The last minute had several frenetic sequences. First, the U.S. lost its team captain, Antoine Baup to a 2 minute penalty. Martinique scored shorty thereafter tying the match at 20-20 and then put a lot of defensive pressure on the down a man U.S. offense. A wing shot by Youssef El Far missed, but hit the cross bar and was rebounded by Tyler Boykin giving the U.S. another opportunity. And Sam Hoddersen took that opportunity, getting fouled for a 7 meter penalty shot which he then scored giving the U.S a 21-20 lead. With just 5 seconds remaining Martinique immediately went on attack and received its own 7 meter penalty with no time remaining. But, the opportunity to send the match into overtime was denied by USA goalie, Rene Ingram. Video of the save and the resulting U.S. victory celebration can be seen here: Link (The contrast between the Martinique and USA reactions tells all.)
Team USA Scoring
Sam Hoddersen- 11
Youssef El Far- 4
Antoine Baup- 3
Michael Lee- 1
(Note: Sean Zimber was marked defensively almost the entire game. That strategy held him scoreless, but I’m not so sure it was a smart strategy overall.)
The U.S. was well represented on the tournament All Star team with 4 players receiving honors
Left Back – Sean Zimber
Right Back – Sam Hoddersen
Right Wing – Youssef El Far
Goalkeeper – Rene Ingram
Cedrick Kollman was also the tournament’s leading scorer.
The victory qualifies the U.S. for the IHF Trophy Intercontinental Championship where the U.S. will meet the winners of the Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania competitions. The IHF Trophy tournament is a tournament that the IHF has adopted to give developing handball nations more opportunities to compete.
Video of match: Link
Video of Closing Ceremonies: Link