LONDON, September 6, 2012 - Canada lept out of the gate at today's Wheelchair Rubgy match against Belgium, putting pressure on thier opponents from the initial tip off. Canada went on to take the match 58 - 50.
"Our boys played with intensity today," said Canada's flag bearer, Garett Hickling. "We went out there and played the way we know we can. If we keep this up and give it our all, no one can stop us."
In a game that saw 18-year-old rookie Zak Madell take centre stage, Canada came out with a strong offensive. Coach Kevin Orr paired Madell with veteran Mike Whitehead to dominate over Belgium's defense throughout the match.
"We came out on fire. We came out to win today," said head coach Kevin Orr, after the game. "Yesterday (versus Australia) we came out not to lose. I think part of the difference is young Zak Madell came out, he's here to play."
For the first time in his international career, Zak played a key role and remained in the rotating lineup throughout the match. The young phenom from Okotoks, Alberta was only recruited into Wheelchair Rugby last year, debuting at the 2011 Americas Zone Qualification Tournament. Having just graduated from high school, Madell is set to be a driving force on Team Canada for years to come.
"We are going to rely on our young guy, we're going to let him bounce around and we're going to see what he's able to do," suggested Coach Orr. " We just need to come out with the attitude that we are here to win this game and we are going to do what we do, we are going to attack."
Next, Canada faces Sweden at 7:00 pm local time Friday Sept. 7. Tomorrow's match against Sweden will determine who moves on to the semi-finals between the two teams. Canada last faced Sweden in the Canada Cup, where they prevailed by a margin of one point. Sweden doused Canada's dreams of the World Championship title 2010 when they knocked them out in round robin. Tomorrow's rematch is sure to be a hard hitting affair with each team vying to best the other to play for a Paralympic medal.
"It's in our hands, we know what to do," said co-captain David Willsie. "We just got to do it."