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Men's Intercontinental Tournament Recap: Canadians lock in a hard-earned spot in Super Final

Canada 9-8 Kazakhstan
Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Canadian men's national water polo team took the long way, but was still able to qualify for the Super Final of the 2014 FINA World League by finishing fifth in the Intercontinental Tournament on Sunday, in Shanghai, China.

The Canucks defeated the Kazakhs 9-8, thanks to three goals each by Justin Boyd, of Beaconsfield, QC, and Jared McElroy, of Calgary, which were supported by two points from Nicolas Constantin-Bicari of Repentigny, QC, and a single goal from Kevin Graham, of Regina.

"Kazakhstan uses a very tough, physical style of play, but the referees kept calling exclusions and it helped us to persevere,” said Constantin-Bicari. “I felt that we were in control throughout. We were not able to widen the gap much but it was sufficient to win,” he said.

Let’s recall that the semi-finalists of the Intercontinental Tournament were also earning their berth in the Super Final, and in the absence of a national team entry for the host of the Super Final, the United Arab Emirates, a fifth place was available this weekend.

The Canadians now join the Americans, Australians, Brazilians and Chinese who were all semi-finalists in Shanghai, as well as the Hungarians, Montenegrins and Serbs, selected in April from the European prelims.

The World League Super FInal will be held in Dubai from June 16 to 21, 2014.


Canada 11-8 Japan
Saturday, May 31, 2014

Team Canada, propelled by an impressive performance on offense by Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, topped Japan 11-8 on Saturday at the Intercontinental Tournament held in Shanghai.

Canada took control of the game from the very beginning, even carving out a five-goal advantage at one moment. “It really feels good to win this game after the disappointment of yesterday (Friday),” said Constantin-Bicari, referring to the 18-17 defeat against the Chinese in the quarterfinals Friday. China’s victory had snatched away the guaranteed spot in the World League Super Final that Canada was trying so hard to secure.

“The guys all joined forces and we pulled off a great team win,” said Constantin-Bicari, who today had a lot to do with his team’s success, having scored 6 of the 11 points for the Canadian side.

This victory against Japan will allow Canada to play one last very important match against Kazakhstan on Sunday. The winning team coming out of this duel will place fifth in the tournament, which was also the minimum required to join the seven other nations already qualified for the World League Super Final in Dubai in a few weeks.
Confirmed participants already include Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro, China, Australia, Brazil and the United States.


China 18-17 Canada
Friday, May 30, 2014

The Canadian men's water polo team suffered a heart-breaking 18-17 defeat to China on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Intercontinental Tournament (preliminaries of the FINA World League ) played in Shanghai.

Canada, who led the match until the end of the third period, was however unable to outrun the Chinese. The latter took the lead three times in the last five minutes of the game, but each time the Canadians came charging back.

Tied 13-13 after the clock ran out in the fourth, the two teams met in a shootout. The Chinese ended up hitting the target five times against four for the Canadians.

"It is very frustrating to lose a game like that," commented Quebecer Justin Boyd, who scored five goals in the game.

"We made many mistakes. We knew what we had to do but failed on execution, especially on the powerplay. They also scored twice on rebounds that we should not have granted them. We will need to do much better in our next game,” said the athlete from Beaconsfield.

Nicolas Constantin-Bicari of Repentigny got past the opposing goalkeeper three times. The Ontarian John Conway, Kevin Graham of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Alberta’s Jared McElroy and Scott Robinson were the other scorers for the Canadian squad.

By accessing the semi-finals, the Chinese have secured their place in the men’s Super Final of the FINA World League, which will be played from June 16 to 21 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Canadians have one last chance to qualify for the event that will bring together eight teams. In addition to Serbia, Hungary and Montenegro, the top five teams in the Shanghai Intercontinental tournament will get their ticket to the final. In addition to China, Australia, Brazil and the United States also advancing to the semi-finals.

In the match on Saturday, Canada will face Japan, which they topped 12-10 in the group play round. They will then need to beat Kazakhstan on Sunday to secure the 5th spot.

Game report: Julie Roy, Sportcom
Translated to English by Water Polo Canada


Canada 8 – 6 Kazhakstan
Thursday May 29, 2014

The Canadian men’s senior national team came out victorious on Thursday against a physical and experienced squad from Kazakhstan, picking up a second win 8-6 (2-1, 5-2, 1-2, 0-1) at the Intercontinental Tournament in Shanghai.

Despite leading all the way in points, Canada’s holecheckers were challenged, having to pick up 10 of the 13 fouls called against them. Some strong penalty killing however neutralized 9 of the 13 disadvantages and made the difference in the Canadian win.

In the last 10 minutes, zone defense limited the Kazakhs to only 1 goal. On offense, Canada had a few chances to close out the game earlier but two missed penalty shots kept the game close until the very end.

“We needed this win to keep our momentum,” said Justin Boyd of Beaconsfield, who has registered two goals at each on the Canadian games so far in this tournament. “Now we need to recover quickly and be ready for China, because that win is what will put us in the World League finals,” he said.

Canada finished 2nd in their group and plays China on Friday. The Canadians are expecting China to come into the game well rested, as they benefited from a bye day today.

Team Canada Scorers on May 29 (CAN-KAZ)
  • Alex Taschereau, 2 goals
  • John Conway, 2 goals
  • Justin Boyd, 2 goals
  • Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, 1 goal
  • Jared McElroy, 1 goal


Canada 12 – 10 Japan
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In their second game at the Intercontinental Tournament in Shanghai, on Wednesday, the Canadian men managed a 12-10 win (4-3, 2-4, 3-2, 3-1) over the Japanese national team.

Despite an initial struggle adapting to Japan’s speed and strong power play, Canada showed resilience and determination, eventually making up for a 2-goal deficit in the third quarter to subsequently dominate the final period of play.

Nicolas Constantin-Bicari proved too much for the Japanese defense to handle, scoring five goals, four of which were from the centre position.

“It was important for us to get our first win and get on track,” said Constantin-Bicari. “Now we must focus on having our team really playing together ahead of the next two very important games.”  

Team Canada is now set to face Kazakhstan on May 29 at 4:20 p.m. (local time in Shanghai).

Team Canada Scorers on May 28 (CAN-JPN)

  • Nicolas Constantin- Bicari, 5 goals  
  • Justin Boyd, 2 goals
  • Jared McElroy, 2 goals
  • John Conway, 1 goal
  • Scott Robinson, 1 goal
  • Kevin Graham, 1 goal


Canada 10 – 11 Australia
Tuesday May 27, 2014

The Canadian senior men’s team played their first match in the Intercontinental Tournament in Shanghai on Tuesday, losing a hard-fought game 11-10 to their Australian adversaries. The competition, held until June 1, will qualify four teams out of the participating squads from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Kazakhstan and the USA to participate to the 2014 FINA World League Super Final in Dubai (UAE) from June 16-21.

The Canada-Australia matchup resulted in a very tight game where Australia eventually gained momentum with a 3-goal run in the third quarter.  The Canadians attempted a forceful comeback in the fourth quarter, with John Conway registering his third power play goal,  Justin Boyd scoring twice and the team collectively killing a last-minute power play from the Aussies. Canada, however, fell just short and Australia scored on a rebound to then run out the clock.

“It was the first game of the summer and we started slowly but finished strong,“ said Justin Boyd of Beaconsfield, QC. “We will get better as the event progresses,“ he said.

Canada plays Japan on Wednesday, a team who just lost their own initial game 7-10 to Kazakhstan, the final team in Group A. In the competition’s other group, the Americans beat the Chinese 14-4. 

Team Canada Scorers

  • Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, 3 goals
  • John Conway, 3 goals
  • Justin Boyd, 2 goals
  • Scott Robinson, 1 goal
  • Jared Mc Elroy, 1 goal



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