Strong performances from Northlanders aren't helping the Black Sticks to victories at the FIH World Hockey League Final in Auckland.

The Northland quintet of co-captain Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal, Ella Gunson, Sam Harrison and Madison Doar have played well but New Zealand cannot find the winning formula.

Their latest defeat, a 3-1 result against seventh- ranked USA, will be the most frustrating for the squad as they dominated the contest statistically.

Michelsen said not being able to capitalise on scoring opportunities had become an unwanted trend for the team.


"I'm definitely getting sick of saying it but we're not clinical enough in the attacking circle," she said.

"We need to get better at that because we are creating chances but just can't put them away."

Michelson and midfielder Shiloh Gloyn showed positivity when they linked up in the centre to feed their forwards, particularly in the first half, however the Kiwis were unable to add to the goal tally.

A relieving goal came for the Black Sticks in the second quarter through a Gunson deflection after the striker missed an earlier opportunity but that was as good as it got.

Gunson was strong up front and battled with the USA defence, but was often left unsupported in the circle.

One issue they need to overcome is their inability to score from penalty corners.

New Zealand only converted one of seven penalty corner chances - a worrying sign.

Neal, who has proven over a long career she can make opposition pay in those situations, will need to find her range as the Black Sticks prepare for a quarter-final date with either Argentina or Germany.

New Zealand dominated in all major statistical categories, leading USA in shots (18-5), possession in opposition half (65-35 per cent) and circle entries (29-6).

One goal doesn't do those numbers justice.

If New Zealand don't find their attacking mojo quickly, they will have a tough time dealing with Argentina or Germany. The two sides have yet to concede a goal in the tournament.

The fifth-ranked Black Sticks have just two in 180 minutes of action.