Hat-trick for Baker in Black Sticks’ 7-1 rout of Canada

George Baker obviously liked the taste of his first international goal.

The Canterbury forward helped himself to a hat-trick to power the Black Sticks men to a 7-1 win over Canada in the opening game of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia on Saturday.

Baker had never found the back of his net in his previous 14 tests but he revelled in some space in the circle.

The Black Sticks took the lead after just 10sec when Scott Boyde scored from open play.

Baker grabbed his first to make it 2-0 at the start of the second quarter, and Jake Smith converted a penalty corner to make it 3-0 at halftime.

The Black Sticks put the game out of sight when Baker got his second shortly after the main break and Smith slotted his second four minutes later.

There was a minor fright when the Canadians pulled a goal back early in the final quarter, but New Zealand finished with a flourish when Baker completed his hat-trick in the 59th minute and Smith scored his second inside the final 20sec.

Jonty Elmes, Cosslett Scott and Luke Holmes all made their debut for the Black Sticks.

Otago veteran Blair Tarrant captained the side in his 255th test, while provincial team-mates Malachi Buschl and Benji Culhane were in the starting XI and Patrick Ward came off the bench.

The Black Sticks were playing Japan last night.