The Vantage Black Sticks proved too strong for the USA in their third round clash at the Vantage Hawkes Bay Festival of Hockey being played in Hastings, New Zealand.

Both teams came into the match with a draw and a loss from their first two matches at the tournament.

USA goalkeeper Jacquie Briggs was honoured prior to the match for achieving her 150th test cap.

The USA was first on the scoresheet in the 11th minute when Erin Matson pounced on the loose ball and struck it home for a 1 nil lead.

Just a minute later the Vantage Black Sticks were on level terms again when Amy Robinson found the back of the net.

The Black Sticks now had a dominant patch and were rewarded in the 25th minute when Sam Harrison scored to take a 2 - 1 lead into the halftime break.

The Vantage Black Sticks continued to dominate the early stages of the second spell and had further reward when Kelsey Smith made it 3 -1 in the 35th minute.

New Zealand then made it a little difficult for themselves when Liz Thompson (36) and Rachel McCann (46) earned yellow cards.

The USA pressed hard and with the numerical advantage made it 3-2 when Ashley Hoffman scored after they had forced a number of penalty corners in quick succession.

At 3-2 the USA put the Black Sticks keeper Grace OHanlon under pressure but their defence held to record their first win at the 2017 tournament.

At the end of three rounds Japan tops the points table with two wins and a loss, Australia has a win and two draws while the Black Sticks are back in the hunt for a top finishing spot with a win and a draw. The USA rounds out the table with just a draw from their three matches.

The top two teams after round robin play will compete for the Vantage Hawkes Bay Cup on Sunday afternoon (NZ time)

Half time score: Vantage Black Sticks 2 USA 0

Final score: Vantage Black Sticks 3 (Amy Robinson, Samantha Harrison, Kelsey Smith) USA 2 (Erin Matson, Ashley Hoffman)

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ