NSW Pride survived a frustrating first half to finally take down the Chill 3-2 in their third match of the Hockey One League in Canberra on Saturday.
However, the Pride's women's side lost their game to the Chill 5-2 in a match of missed opportunities, though they still remain hopeful of a semi-final berth.
It was always going to be difficult for the Pride men to repeat their previous winning performances against Brisbane Blaze and HC Melbourne, especially in the absence of Kookaburras Blake Govers and Flynn Ogilvie and captain Jack Hayes.
Instead, former Illawarra Kookaburra Tristan White - who was called in for a one-off appearance - and Wests Illawarra's Tom Miotto was given an opportunity to show his talents after missing the previous games.
White, a veteran of three winning Champions Trophies and two World League titles, was stoked playing with the Pride again and thrilled to play at that level again.
"It wasn't pretty, but we got the win and with the week we had I think that's a great result," White said.
"We struggled to hold the ball and then let them play to their game plan in the first half. In the second half, we changed a few tactics to disrupt their game plan which was the difference. We weren't able to get our game humming by the team's usual standards but we did enough to get a result.
"We had nine players out, all of whom are very high quality, and it was tough. Flynn and Blake are elite players of world hockey."
The Pride men were put under tremendous pressure by the Chill team, who earned four penalty corners in the first half, but their goalkeeper Ash Thomas played majestically to keep out the drag flicks by Chill's Indian Tokyo bronze medallist Rupinder Pal Singh.
However, they charged back in the third quarter with a series of failed penalty corners and Illawarra's Daine Richards bold charge into the circle, but it was challenged by Pal Singh.
The breakthrough came in the final minute of the quarter when Miotto, in the absence of Govers, from their fifth penalty corner nailed a perfect drag flick past the Chill keeper Max Robson for a 1-0 lead. Four minutes into the fourth quarter, Tom Craig took the score to 2-0 from a powerful tomahawk hit into the goal but failed to convert the goal when Robson denied him the chance.
The Pride then went into a 3-0 lead five minutes later when Miles Davis scored after a pass from Dylan Martin but failed the conversion. Chill's Ben Staines reduced the deficit to 3-2 with four minutes remaining when he scored and converted his goal to finally beat Thomas between the posts.
Meanwhile, the Pride women were outplayed by Canberra and were down 3-2 at the break, with Makayla Jones scoring Pride's goals. The Chill then took control of the game in the second half to outpace the Pride and extend the score to 5-2.
Team co-captain Maddi Smith, Albion Park's newest Hockeyroo with 13 national appearances, said the Chill really played well. However, they were now focused on their next game against Tasmania.
"We are up for a big game and will have to work hard to come out firing," Smith said.
"We need to convert opportunities in the circle and be more aggressive. We came back last year from two losses to win Hockey One, and there's no reason we can't do it again."
The Pride teams next play the Tassie Devils at Sydney Olympic Park this Saturday.
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