VEIJLE, Denmark – Canada squandered a three-point lead after the first quarter and lost 53-51 to the U.S. in the quarterfinals Friday at the 2022 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship.
The Canadians, ranked sixth in the world, can still improve on that standing as they will now battle for fifth spot over the weekend and look to match their result from the 2020 Paralympic Games.
“We came here to medal,” said Cody Caldwell of Peterborough, Ont., second in Canadian scoring in the game with eight points. “Losing sucks.”
Photo: Kevin Bogetti-Smith
Canada took advantage of some American sloppiness mid first quarter to grab an 11-8 lead and were up 15-12 after eight minutes. The U.S. closed the gap to 22-21 in the second and were down 27-26 at the half.
“We’ve had great starts all year,” said Caldwell. ‘’We came out strong and pressured the U.S. hard and they made a couple of mistakes.”
The Americans regained the lead on the last play of the third quarter. A Canadian player had been bumped across the goal line before Zak Madell scored. Madell once again led all Canadian point getters with 28.
“We both have experienced teams and know each other really well,” said Caldwell. ‘’We just couldn’t get it done. We didn’t execute and at this level every turnover matters.”
Up 41-40 after three, the Americans had first possession to start the fourth and extended the lead to two points. Canada was never able to catch up.
In the other quarterfinals, world number-one and defending champions Japan defeated New Zealand 58-38 while the France-Denmark and Great Britain-Australia games are later Friday.
Canada faces New Zealand Saturday with the winner advancing to the fifth-place match on Sunday.
To learn more about the 2022 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship, visit 2022WRWC.com.
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