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Canadian men and women reach semifinals at the Inter-Continental Cup

(March 29, 2019 – Perth, Australia) – In the most important match so far at the FINA Inter-Continental Cup, both Canadian teams battled hard to record the win and secure qualification for the World League Super Final in June. The Canadian men faced China in the second quarter-final of the day, once again Canada had to fight until the very end to record the 11-10 win. On the women’s side, Canada was up against Japan for a spot in the semi-final. Despite a slow start, the Canadian women adapted quickly to come back into the game and get the 9-6 win.

CANADA 11 – 10 CHINA (4-5, 1-1, 3-1, 3-3)

Dusan Aleksic (Q1), Gaelan Patterson, Sean Spooner (2), Nicolas Constantin-Bicari (4), Jérémie Côté, Jérémie Blanchard, Bogdan Djerkovic (2), David Lapins, Aleksa Gardijan (2), Aria Soleimani, Devon Thumwood, Reuel D’Souza (1), Milan Radenovic (Q2-Q4).

After an intense first quarter where both teams answered the opponent’s efforts on offense, China had the advantage of 5-4 over Canada. Aleksa Gardijan found the equalizer in the opening minutes of the second quarter, showing great patience to beat the goalkeeper one on one. In a much more defensive quarter, China regained the lead late in half to show a 5-6 advantage at halftime.

In one of the closest contest of the tournament, the difference maker came in the third quarter when the Canadians scored three unanswered goals to take the lead. Sean Spooner and Aleksa Gardijan netted their second of the day on the power play while Bogdan Djerkovic won his battle in front of the net to put Canada in front. The Chinese squad was able to cut the lead to 8-7 before the end of the third quarter.

The Canadians extended their lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter; Djerkovic tallied his second just to Reuel D’Souza scored on the Canadian power play to put Canada in front 10-7. Despite trailing by three goals, the Chinese continue to push and scored three quick goals to tie it up at 10-10. With the Canadian fans on the edge of their seat, Nicolas Constantin-Bicari concluded a brilliant performance with what turned out to be the game-winner with just under two minutes to play. It came down to the last second, but the Canadian men held on to earn the 11-10 win and move on to the next round. With four goals in the match, Constantin-Bicari won the well-deserved “Player of the Game” mention.

“Our win today was really important for the team and the program. Playing in the Super Final will be crucial in our preparation for the Pan American Games this summer. With that being said, tomorrow’s semi-final will be intense, so we need to recover properly and be ready to play our game.” said Nicolas Constantin-Bicari after the match.

Canada will face Australia in the semi-final tomorrow, March 30 at 20:30 local time / 8:30 am ET. Live stream is available on FINA TV (subscription required).

JAPAN 6 – 9 CANADA (3-3, 1-2, 0-3, 2-1)

Jessica Gaudreault (GK), Krystina Alogbo (1), Axelle Crevier, Gurpreet Sohi, Monika Eggens (3), Kelly McKee, Joelle Bekhazi (1), Elyse Lemay-Lavoie (3), Hayley McKelvey, Amanda Amorosa, Kindred Paul, Shae Fournier (1), Claire Wright.

The Canadian women were also looking to punch their ticket for the World League Super Final in their quarterfinal matchup against Japan. The Japanese had a firing start jumping to a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter. Canada had to regroup and adjust to the Japanese style of play. A converted penalty shot by Monika Eggens put Canada on the board halfway through the first quarter. Good defence and excellent goalkeeping by Jessica Gaudreault helped the Canadians come back into the game. Joelle Bekhazi and Krystina Alogbo each tallied one to bring the score to a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter.

Elyse Lemay-Lavoie scored twice in the second quarter to put Canada in front 5-4 at halftime. The Canadian squad continued to create opportunities on offence in the third quarter. Eggens, Fournier, and Lemay-Lavoie each netted one to extend the Canadian lead to 8-4 heading in the fourth quarter.

With a place in the semi-final on the line, the Japanese continue to put pressure on the Canadians in an attempt of coming back in the game. The Japanese squad scored halfway through the fourth period to come within three goals (5-8). Eggens answered back on the Canadian power play to regain a four-goal advantage. Japan added one more goal, but the Canadians kept control of the ball to confirm the 9-6 win and clinched their spot for the Super Final. Elyse Lemay-Lavoie won “Player of the match” for the second consecutive game.

“The first quarter did not go the way we wanted, and we had to adjust quickly to the Japanese’s style of play. The second half of the game was a lot better for us, and we showed more patience at both ends of the pool. Our first objective was to get our ticket for the Super Final. Now, we need to concentrate on tomorrow’s semi-final against the USA. It will be a tough match, but if we follow our game plan, we have our chances” commented Elyse Lemay-Lavoie of the Canadian women’s team.

The Canadian women will measure themselves against the United States tomorrow, March 29 at 17:30 local time / 5:30 EST. Live stream is available on FINA TV (subscription required).



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