New Delhi: Canada were held to a 2-2 draw by Italy in the second game of the women`s hockey Olympic qualifier at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here on Saturday.

Italy were quick off the block and forced a penalty-corner within four minutes of play. Agata Wybieralska`s shot was nearly stopped by a Canadian on the post but trickled over the line to give an early lead, and the momentum, to the Italians.

The Canadians were shaken by this start but regained their composure after a few minutes and started to besiege the Italian circle. They, however, wasted several chances, including a penalty-corner.

The Canadians combined well at the beginning of the second period. Thea Culley received the ball in the circle at the end of a long sequence of passes, her first shot was stopped but she picked up the rebound and slotted a smashing reverse shot high in the net to tie the score.

Canada were clearly the better structured and enterprising team in the second half, but they lacked efficiency in the circle, including two penalty-corners in a row. Finally they took the lead in the 61st minute thanks to Brienne Stairs` close range goal.

Italy, however, came back immediately courtesy Alessia Doriana Padalino on a penalty-corner. There was intense activity at both ends in the final minutes of play, but the score remained tied (2-2).