Canadians fall to fourth place at 2016 Canada Cup after loss to U.S.

By , on June 26, 2016

Photo: Canada Cup Wheelchair Rugby International Tournament/Facebook
Photo: Canada Cup Wheelchair Rugby International Tournament/Facebook

RICHMOND, B.C.—A disappointing week for Canada ended with a 56-53 against the United States on Sunday at the 2016 Canada Cup international wheelchair rugby tournament.

The loss left Canada in fourth place with a 3-3 record. It’s the first time the top-ranked Canadians have failed to win a medal in the 12-year history of the Canada Cup tournament.

The second-ranked U.S. finished 6-0 to win the gold. Australia (5-1) claimed silver while Japan (4-2) was third.

Canada struggled to maintain intensity against the aggressive Americans. The Canadians were quickly down by two and finished the half trailing 31-27.

Canada battled back to within one point late in the match but couldn’t build enough momentum to overtake the dominant Americans.

Head coach Kevin Orr was pleased his team didn’t give up.

“I’m proud of the way the guys showed up today,” said Orr. “We made a few mistakes but we showed a lot more heart and effort in this game.

“It’s always a tough game against Canada,” said U.S. veteran Chuck Aoki. “We always want to beat them and they always want to beat us. It was a great game. They played really well.”

Aoki said the seven-nation tournament, played at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval, was important for his team’s preparation for this summer’s Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“Without the chance to play against the best teams in the world, we’d be flying blind basically going into Rio,” said Aoki. “Hopefully it will get us on the right track for our goal of gold in Rio.”

Earlier in the day Japan wrapped up the bronze medal with a 56-34 victory over Switzerland.

Canada came into the tournament’s ranked No.1 in the world followed by the U.S., Japan and Australia.

Great Britain finished 3-3 but placed fifth because of a 47-44 loss to Canada Friday. Sweden was 1-5 and Switzerland 0-6.

Canada will use a training camp on Vancouver Island, B.C., for its final preparations before the Rio Paralympics. Wheelchair rugby will be played Sept. 14-18.