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World League Super Final: Canada opens the tournament with an important win against Hungary

(Belgrade, Serbia, June 18, 2019) – A great team effort helped the Canadian men’s team record a 10-9 win against Hungary on the opening day of the World League Super Final in Belgrade, Serbia. The Canadians took the lead in the first quarter and retained the advantage until the fourth quarter when the Hungarians tied the game 9-9. Canada answered back on the power play to regain the lead with 1:35 to go. A late penalty gave Hungary an opportunity to even the score, but Canada’s Dusan Aleksic saved his second penalty of the fourth quarter to keep his team ahead. The Canadian men held on to record the win and collect the three points.

Canada came out strong in the first quarter, outscoring Hungary 3-1 to take the lead. Reuel D’Souza and George Torakis each tallied one to give Canada a 5-1 lead early in the second quarter. Hungary answered back with a three-goal run to bring the score to 5-4 at halftime.

D’Souza added two more goals at the beginning of the third quarter to give Canada a three-goal advantage. Hungary’s answer came on the power play moments later, but Nicolas Constantin-Bicari netted one on the counter-attack to give the Canadians an 8-5 lead. The Hungarians added two goals on the power play to come within one with 49 seconds to go in the third quarter. A counter-attack goal by Aleksa Gardijan helped Canada take a 9-7 lead heading into the final quarter.

In such a close battle, Canada had to play smart in the fourth quarter to avoid a comeback from the opposing team. Hungary’s Toni Nemet scored in the opening minutes to bring his team within one with plenty of time on the clock. The Canadian defence limited the occasions for the Hungarians, but a power-play goal gave Hungary a push with less than two minutes to go. Canada continued to work on offence, Matthew Halajian netted his second of the match on the power play to regain a 10-9 lead. Solid defence and a stellar performance from Canada’s goalkeeper, Dusan Aleksic, helped the Canadians record a 10-9 win.

“We were excited to play our first game. We came out strong which caught Hungary off guard, and we were able to maintain the lead throughout for the majority of the game. We are here to build towards the Pan Am Games in Lima, and this is one step of the process” commented Dusan Aleksic, named Player of the Match.

“I’m happy with the game; we played smart team water polo. We played well in man-down situations in the first half, and we stayed aggressive throughout the match” added Pino Porzio, Head Coach of the Men’s National Team.

The Canadian men will face Japan tomorrow, at 15:00 local time // 9:00 am Eastern time. Live stream is available via FINA TV (subscription required). A total of eight teams compete in this week’s Super Final in the hopes of capturing the gold medal and qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

CANADA 10 – 9 HUNGARY - (3-1, 2-3, 4-3, 1-2)

Aleksic, Patterson (1), Djerkovic, Constantin-Bicari (1), Halajian (2), Torakis (2), Spooner, Côté, Gardijan (1), Soleimani, Blanchard, D’Souza (3), Radenovic.



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