(Sportcom- translation by WPC) - The Canadian men's water polo team achieved a second victory on Tuesday in the preliminary round of the Olympic qualification tournament, 11-9, against the Slovaks.
Four sets of tickets to the Rio de Janeiro Games are available for this competition. They will be earned by countries who will enter the top four after winning their quarterfinal match on Friday.
Twelve nations divided into two groups are trying to first gain access to these quarterfinals. The Canadians, with a record of two wins and one tie, currently rank second in Group A behind the Hungarians, who have exactly the same number of wins, but an advantage on the goal differential.
The representatives of Canada bested the Russians, 7-6, Sunday. Trailing 6-4 in the fourth quarter, they found their way back to score three times before the end of regulation time. Justin Boyd, of Beaconsfield, QC, registered two of the three powerplay goals in the last three minutes.
Monday, they managed a tie, 14-14, against the powerful Hungarian formation, who was recently placed sixth at FINA Worlds last summer. John Conway of Ottawa secured the tie for his team, thwarting the opposing keeper with five seconds remaining. Captain Kevin Graham of Regina, also scored in the final minute.
Against the Slovaks, the Canadians resolutely took control of the game in the second quarter, when they reached the back of the net five times. Ahead 7-3 after a half, they kept their dangerous adversaries at a distance thereafter.
"It's a good start," agreed Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, who scored seven goals so far in the competition. "It brings us confidence, but despite these results, we think there is still plenty of room for improvement," he said
The centre forward is also not the least bit surprised by the strength of character shown by the national delegation who often fought back from behind in the first two outings. "We are super closely knit as a group. We really stand together," he said.
The Romanians on Wednesday, then the French on Thursday, will be the Canadian men’s next opponents before the big quarterfinal duel on Friday.
"We are working on our game system to get ready for game six. Anything can still happen. We have three big games ahead of us. Everything must fall into place to qualify ", said Constantin-Bicari.
"Ending a game 14-14 against the Hungarians, yes, we are happy, but at the same time, it will mean nothing if we are not able to repeat a result like that. There is nothing done yet. "
Eight countries have already secured their place for the Olympic Games in Rio: Australia, Brazil, Croatia, the U.S.A., Greece, Japan, Montenegro and Serbia.