The Vantage Black Sticks have proven too strong for USA, winning their third round clash 3-2 at the Vantage Hawke's Bay Festival of Hockey on Monday night.

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

USA were first on the score sheet in the 11th minute when Erin Matson pounced on a loose ball and struck it home for a 1-0 lead.

Just a minute later the Kiwis were back on level terms courtesy of a well-worked Amy Robinson field goal.

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The Black Sticks continued to mount pressure and were rewarded in the 25th minute when Sam Harrison scored to open a 2-1 lead at the halftime break.

New Zealand 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.

Following two yellow cards to the Black Sticks, USA pressed hard with the numerical advantage pulled one goal back through an Ashley Hoffman goal on the back of a number of penalty corners in quick succession.

At 3-2 the USA put the Black Sticks goalkeeper Grace O'Hanlon under pressure but their defence held firm to record their first win at the 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 with a win and a draw. 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 Hawke's Bay Cup on Sunday afternoon.