Sept. 17, 2016 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -In the wheelchair rugby gold medal match at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, Canada came from behind to thrill fans with a 57-54 win over the USA. Today, however, the fairytale comeback wasn’t in the cards. Canada lost 55-60 against the USA in the semi-finals and will play for bronze tomorrow.
Canada got off to a rocky start when the smothering American defensive – which double-teamed Zak Madell for most of the game – forced them to burn two of their four timeouts. At the end of the first, the USA was only up 14-13.
Two minutes into the second half, however, Canada had two back-to-back turnovers and found themselves on the wrong end of a three-point deficit.
“When you lose that turnover battle, it’s hard to fight back,” said co-captain Trevor Hirschfield after the game. “At this level, there just aren’t that many chances to create turnovers.”
Though previous Canadian and American matches have gone down to the final seconds, this time the USA just seemed a little bit faster and a little bit sharper. Several times, Canada got a fingertip on the ball, but American star Chuck Aoki was able to recover it and score. In the end, America committed only 6 turnovers to Canada’s 10.
“We’ve fought two overtime battles in a row, and I think we came out a little bit tired and a little bit low,” said head coach Kevin Orr. “But I give credit to the Americans where credit is due. We broke their hearts in the London 2012 semi-final, and this time they did it to us.”
Canada will play for bronze tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in Carioca 1 tomorrow against the winner of the Australia versus Japan game today at 4:00 p.m.
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Press attaché for wheelchair rugby, judo and boccia