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World League Super Final: Canada falls to Japan in the preliminary round

(Belgrade, Serbia, June 19, 2019) – The Canadian men’s team fell to Japan 17-7 on the second day of competition at the FINA World League Super Final in Belgrade, Serbia. A 4-goal run by the Japanese in the opening minutes of the first quarter made it difficult for the Canadians to come back into the game. Despite going 2-2 in the second quarter, Japan extended its lead in the third quarter and limited the Canadians to one goal in the fourth quarter to record the win.

The Japanese used their speed in the opening minutes of the game, scoring four consecutive goals to take the lead. Canada’s answer came from George Torakis and Matthew Halajian (4-2), but Japan added two more goals before the end of the first quarter. The Canadian squad settled down a bit in the second quarter, Gaelan Patterson and Matthew Halajian each tallied one to bring the score to 8-4 at halftime.

Japan’s Yusuke Inaba converted a penalty shot at the beginning of the third quarter, but Mark Spooner answered back on the Canadian power play to keep his team within four goals. Nicolas Constantin-Bicari added one goal from the center to put the score at 9-6. However, the Japanese capitalized on their extra-man opportunities and extended their lead to 16-6 at the end of the third quarter. Both teams exchanged a goal in the final quarter, and Japan confirmed the 17-7 win.

“They came in with a lot of energy that we didn’t match, they used their speed to gain an advantage against us. There is a lot of room for improvement for the next game against Spain.” indicated Gaelan Patterson of the Men’s National Team.

“It is not easy to play against Japan; they have a different style of play. We were down early in the game and it was difficult to come back. Tomorrow is another important game; we need to test the top teams as part of our process,” commented Pino Porzio, Head Coach of the Men’s National Team.

The Canadian men will face Spain tomorrow, at 19:15 local time // 13:15 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.

JAPAN 17- 7 CANADA (6-2, 2-2, 8-2, 1-1)

Aleksic (1st-3rd), Patterson (1), Djerkovic, Constantin-Bicari (1), Halajian (2), Torakis (1), Spooner (1), Côté, Gardijan, Soleimani, Blanchard, D’Souza (1), Radenovic (4th).

Group A: Spain 4, Japan 3, Canada 3, Hungary 2

Group B: Serbia 6, Croatia 3, Australia 3, Kazakhstan 0



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