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Women’s Pan Am Tournament: Initial days feature Exciting Water Polo Action
Women’s Pan Am Tournament Day 1 (July 7, 2015): Canada and Brazil battle to a draw

There was no easing into the Pan Am Games for Canada’s women’s water polo team as their opponents from Brazil fought tooth and nail against the Canadian hosts in what would turn out to be a 7-7 draw at the Markham Pan Am / Parapan Centre on July 7, 2015.

The game was an intense and tight affair throughout with the squads. There was a lead change in every quarter of the game and the two squads were tied on six different occasions. When faced with a deficit, both Canada and Brazil were able to find a new gear, and get themselves back into the game. Both teams showed an impressive level of resilience that will no doubt be a factor as the tournament progresses.

The key factor in Tuesday’s match were the exclusions. Aggressive defensive was often met with an immediate kick-out as the referees did not allow the players much leeway. Each team had double digit power plays with Brazil going 5-14 and Canada going 3-11. With each team struggling to generate even strength chances, the game would swing on the power plays. It was Brazil who came out strong in the first quarter, capitalizing on two exclusions to jump to the lead early and quiet the partisan home crowd. The Canadians were unable to match the early intensity put forth by their opponents.

“Brazil came out hard, and they were ready to go. They came out hard and maybe we didn’t come out as strong as they did” – Christine Robinson, centre-back, Team Canada

The Canadians started to get their legs going in the 2nd quarter and goals by Krystina Alogbo and Dominique Perrault turned a one goal deficit into a one goal advantage. Canada looked for an insurance goal to put them up two but it was Brazil who answered the bell this time, as driver Izabella Maizza Chiappini fired one home to tie the score a three heading into the half.

Canada started the 3rd with another early goal, this time courtesy of driver Katie Monton, but before the hometown fans could finish celebrating, Brazil had tied it once again. After the tying goal, Canada would be called for two straight exclusions with Brazil driving home the go-ahead goal on the second to retake the lead for the first time since the opening quarter. Canada had a golden opportunity to tie the game but the penalty shot skipped over the net. When Brazil scored immediately afterwards on another power play, the momentum had swung in Brazil’s favour and Canada looked to be in trouble. With the clock ticking down, Canada would demonstrate their own level of resilience when Shae Fournier fired home a huge goal for Canada with just four seconds remaining. The crowd was energized and so were the Canadians.

“We really pushed through, never gave up through the entire game. We fought hard” – Jessica Gaudreault – goalie, Team Canada

Just like that, the momentum had swung again and Canada came out firing once more, with Christine Robinson tying the game just six seconds in to the 4th. When Emma Wright scored for Canada on the counter-attack with under four minutes to play it looked like Canada might be able to edge out the victory; but if these game taught us one thing, it’s that neither of these teams will be put away easily. Another Canadian exclusion gave Brazil the chance they were looking for and once again they made the most of their opportunity to tie the game at 7-7. The game was set for a tense final couple of minutes. A Canadian shot rang of the crossbar and when Brazil was sent to the power play once last in the final minute, the Canadian fans feared for the worst. With the game on the line, the Canadians took their defense to the next level and foiled the final Brazil attack.

It was appropriate that the match ended in a draw, as neither team seemed willing to lose this one.

Women’s Pan Am Tournament Day 2 (July 8, 2015): Canada dominates Venezuela and earns their first victory of the 2015 Pan Am Games

(MARKHAM, July 8, 2015) – After admittedly coming out a bit flat against Brazil in their opening game of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am water polo competition, the Canadian women jumped all over Venezuela in a 15-4 victory at the Pan Am / Parapan Centre in Markham. The win pushes Canada’s record to 1-1-0 (W, D, L) and their three points currently lead Group B.

The game was a demonstration of the fantastic depth on Team Canada’s roster. Of the eleven players on the roster who aren’t goalies, ten of them scored at least one goal. The goalie position was also strong for Canada. Claire Wright made some great saves stepping in for Jessica Gaudreault, who played the opening game against Brazil.

Canada’s scoring was led by Dominique Perreault, who tallied a hat trick of goals in the 3rd quarter; part of a six goal Canadian run that put the game on ice. It was an extra special game for Perreault who has only recently returned to the National Team after being sidelined for some time due to a concussion.

“I wanted to come back. There was a lot to do to come back from that type of injury, but I just really wanted it, wanted to able to have a big tournament here, and that’s what the team is doing” – Dominique Perreault, driver, Team Canada

A strong showing against Venezuela was critical because of how pool B is shaping up. Both Canada and Brazil are heavy favourites against the other members of pool B, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Because Canada and Brazil played to a 7-7 draw, if they were to end tied atop the standings at the end of the round robin, overall goal differential would be the deciding factor. A poor match against either Puerto Rico or Venezuela, even if it still results in a win, could be the difference in winning pool B and having a good semi-final draw, or finishing 2nd and likely having to face a very strong United States squad.

Canada will be right back at it again tomorrow when they take on Puerto Rico at the Markham Pan Am / Parapan Centre. Swim-off is 12:00 EST. The Canadian men are also back in action as they take on Venezuela at 18:00 EST. The men will be looking to bounce back after a tough first match loss against Brazil.
For more information or media requests:
Pascale Beaudoin 514-758-7472


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