Zak Madell led Team Canada with 39 goals in Friday's game vs. Australia. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Wheelchair Rugby continues to draw electric crowds

Canada and Australia battled to maintain their perfect records at Rio Paralympics

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Canada and Australia put on a show in a battle of the unbeaten men’s wheelchair rugby teams on Friday night.

The Aussies came out on top.

Canada fell to the No. 2 Australians 63-62 in overtime, the game drew one of the loudest crowds at Rio’s Carioca Arena 1.

Trevor Hirschfield has competed in two previous Paralympics and is still blown away by the fans.

“The atmosphere was electric, the crowds here in Rio have been amazing so far,” the 32-year-old said. “They’ve put together a great Games so we know it’s going to be loud and we kind of feed off that energy.”

Canada and Australia line up for their national anthems.
Canada and Australia line up for their national anthems.

Canadian star Zak Madell entered Friday night’s game with a tournament leading 68 goals. He added another 39 in Friday night’s loss – four coming in OT.

It was back-and-forth action all night between the two teams. Canada was never able to take the lead during the game, but would answer right back whenever the Australians would score. The game was kept within one point through four periods.

This match up was highly anticipated by both sides and drew many fans from their home countries.

Some fans were lucky enough to experience the action from the front row.

For those fans who couldn’t attend the game, getting updates was on the top of their priority list.

Canada will face the United States in the first semifinal on Saturday at 11:45(EST). Australia will take on Japan in the second semifinal on Saturday at 3:00(EST).

Twitter: @laurcascagnette and @HannahDCarver