PANAM Games Qualifier (Game Summaries and Photos)

The new Canadian Federation Website has brief summaries and several photos from the matches.

Dennis Berkholtz, the USA Men’s Team Leader, provided the report below:

Canada vs USA: Qualifier for the Pan American Games

January 4-7, 2007

Lake Placid, NY and Montreal, Canada

Canada Men defeated the U.S. Men’s National team in an exciting 3 game series last weekend in Lake Placid, NY and Montreal, Canada thus earning a place in the Pan American Games (PAG) in July in Brazil. The U.S. must now go to Chile the last weekend in March to play Chile, Venezuela and Puerto Rico for the final spot in the PAG.

Game one played in Lake Placid was a tight match all the way with Canada winning in the last minute 20-19. The U.S. men had a last chance to score on a long pass fast break opportunity but the pass was not completed as time expired. The team played well despite not having much time to prepare for the matches. Danny Caparelli was outstanding in the goal.

Game two was a U.S. victory 26-22. The U.S. controlled the tempo throughout the game and fought off a late rally by the Canadians. The highlight of the game was the stellar goal tending of backup keeper Matt Van Houten. Van Houten entered the game 3 times for starting keeper Danny Caparelli (3 two minute penalties and a resulting red card) and kept Canada at bay by blocking numerous shots, including an important penalty shot. Again the entire team played well led by Gary Hines and Troy Steffen who got the U.S. running game going.

Game three featured an admirable second half rally by the Canadians over a tired U.S. team. After trailing 8-10 at half, Canada rallied early in the second half and maintained control throughout the remainder of the game.

The matches featured a high level of play by both teams. Veteran U.S. players Caparelli and Van Houten were exceptional in the goal. Veterans Darrick Heath and Derek Brown provided a steady hand and converted timely scoring opportunities. Bobby Dunn provided great leadership and outstanding defensive play and Tom Fitzgerald again proved his importance as a team leader, 7 meter shooter and versatility as a field player.

Younger players played important roles as well. Gary Hines continues to play at world class levels and offers more to the team than just scoring goals. He is warrior who works hard on both offense and defense and whose tireless play inspires everyone. Troy Steffen gains experience every game and has had two outstanding tournaments in a row, the Pan American Men’s Championships in June 2006 and this match-up. He continues to show maturity on the court and will be an outstanding player for years to come. Patrick Oliver played an admirable back up role and has shown steady improvement. Alex McGlynn, after a shaky start defensively was outstanding for the last two games playing three different positions and scoring several important goals. Other players, Levi Henderson, Bill Bigham, Ryan Hansell and Michael Hinson all contributed. Ben Ewing, the 3rd keeper, was introduced to high level handball and has a chance to be a good keeper in the future. Chris Poole also got his introduction to international competition with some good minutes.

The coaches, Chris Cappelmann and Darrick Heath did an outstanding job of preparing the team prior to the competition. Despite not having much notice they had the team together in Atlanta, Ga. for 12 training sessions in mid December.

Darrick was asked to play first and coach second to provide on court leadership and strength on defense. He responded well on both fronts. Although he assisted on coaching decisions during the competition, the coaching leadership and responsibility was given to Coach Cap. Chris responded well and did a great job preparing the team for each game. His strength at evaluating game film and individual performance does not go unnoticed. Both Chris and Darrick will continue coaching the team in preparation for Chile and the Pan American Games.

Dennis Berkholtz
Team Leader/Assistant Coach
Co-Chair Men’s USA National Team
Vice President, North, Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF)