Team USA defeats Britain in Opening Match of the 2016 Canada Cup

RICHMOND, B.C. _ Team U.S.A. forced a turnover with 7.2 seconds left, setting up a late goal in a 50-48 victory over Great Britain Friday in the opening game of the 2-2016 Canada Cup International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament.

It was a close match with the U.S., the bronze medalists from the 2012 London Paralympics, holding a slim 28-27 lead at half time. The teams were tied 39-39 after three quarters.

The Americans led by three points with 4:36 remaining but the British battled back, tying the match 48-48 with just 57.2 remaining.

The U.S. came into the game ranked No. 2 in the world but had their hands full with No. 5-ranked Great Britain.

“It was a little closer than we liked but it was a good way to knock the rust off,” said Chuck Aoki of the U.S. “They worked hard."

“We started off a little sluggish. We have some newer players who are still kind of getting their feet settled early, so there was a little bit of nerves.”

Aoki, who spent 11 years playing wheelchair basketball before switching to rugby, said it was a good start to the tournament for the Americans.

“We come in to win every game,” said the 25-year-old from Minneapolis, who has a teaching degree. “We got the W. We’ll take it.”

The tournament is being held at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Of the seven teams participating, only Switzerland will not be competing at this summer’s Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The games are being streamed at www.canadacupwcrugby.com and http://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics.
The round-robin tournament sees each team playing each other twice. The competition ends Sunday.