Ottawa Stingers club player Patrice Dagenais and the Canadian wheelchair rugby team handled Belgium easily in a Thursday contest at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. They then qualified for the medal round with a one-point Friday victory. Photo: Dan Plouffe
By Ian Ewing
LONDON -- Patrice Dagenais and Canada’s wheelchair rugby team are off to semi-finals at the London Paralympics after a tight one-point victory over Sweden in their final round robin game Friday.
The team went 2-1 in Group B pool play, rebounding from a first-game loss to Australia.
Dagenais, the 27-year-old from Embrun, has seen over 25 minutes of game time through the three games. As a player who is classified as a 1.0 on a scale that assesses athletes from 0.5 to 3.5 in their functional ability, the former junior hockey player plays a mainly defensive role.
“I don’t get all the fame that the high-pointers do,” laughs the Ottawa Stingers club players. “But I just play my role. It’s been a dream of mine to play at the highest level. So just being able to compete against the other teams has been a dream come true – I’m finally at the top.”
Canada will face either Japan or the United States from Group A in their semi-final on Saturday. A win in that game would vault Dagenais into the gold medal game and guarantee another medal for the Ottawa area.
In the round robin, Canada had lost to Australia 64-52, before beating Belgium 58-50 and emerging victorious against Sweden by a score of 53-52 in a very even game that determined second place in the pool and a berth in the medal round.