(Trieste, April 8, 2016) The Canadian Men’s water polo team knew they would face a tough opponent against Spain, entering Friday’s quarterfinal matchup since a win would signify a participation in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Although it came down to the wire in the all-or-nothing game, and despite an impressive comeback in the 4th, Canada fell 8-7 to the Spaniards in the end, after a hard-fought defensive match.
Canada scored first in the game, on a goal by Kevin Graham, but Spain rallied to enter the half with a 4-3 lead, even with Justin Boyd’s two point in the first half.
Spain was notably able to capitalize on two penalty shots in the first half alone to take the advantage.
The Spaniards then added to their lead and held a 7-3 margin after the first 3 periods, with Spanish goaltending making a major contribution.
John Conway, of Ottawa, ON, opened the hostilities in the fourth period to cut Spain’s lead to 7-4, but Spain was able to quickly recover to bring the score to 8-4.
Late the in fourth quarter, Canada was able to mount a comeback by scoring three unanswered goals to cut Spain’s lead to 8-7 in the dying seconds. But it wasn’t quite enough as Canada fell to Spain with a final score of 8-7 of Day 6 at the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Trieste, Italy.
Canadian men still have two remaining games in the tournament and the team has exceeded many observers’ expectations with their current performance, however a spot to compete at the Rio games this August will not come to fruition.