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8 September 2012

Game 16 Recap: CAN vs USA

In a match that many are calling "Murderball 2.0," Canada beat the USA 50-49 to advance to the gold medal game of the London 2012 Paralympics. This epic semi-final matchup was a grudge match and wheelchair rugby fans knew they were in for a good match.  There may be no bigger rivalry in wheelchair rugby than that of the North American neighbours and time after time, the two teams have put on a show of hard hits and narrow margins of victory.


Canada leapt out to an early lead when the USA began the game with a series of uncharacteristic turnovers. The Americans appeared to be flummoxed by the addition of 18-year-old rookie Zak Madell. No one, however, expected the reigning champs to go down without a fight. True to form, the Americans recovered to chip away at the lead by playing a barrage of mid-point players to trap. The lead narrowed first to five at halftime, then finally to tie it up in the final minutes of the game.


With 33 seconds on the clock, it was a tie game and the USA drew a turnover and had possession of the ball. It seemed certain that they would score to win, but Garett Hickling and Mike Whitehead trapped Chuck Aoki and stole the ball. Aoki fouled and Garett Hickling scored with 0.5 seconds left on the clock to win the game.


Canada will play Australia for gold at 2 pm tomorrow and USA will play Japan for bronze at noon.