07/08/2015 06:13 EDT | Updated 07/08/2016 05:59 EDT

Pan Am Games: Canada downs Venezuela in women's water polo, men have day off

MARKHAM, Ont. - Dominique Perreault had a hat trick as Canada routed Venezuela 15-4 on Wednesday in the preliminary round of the women's water polo tournament at the Pan Am Games.

Stephanie Valin, Christine Robinson and Emma Wright had two goals each as Canada bounced back from a 7-7 tie with Brazil on Tuesday. Carmen Eggens, Monkia Eggens, Joelle Bekhazi, Jakie Kohli, Katie Monton and Krystina Alogbo rounded out the attack for the Canadians.

Jeisnaimil Agelvis, Yineldy Araujo Marin, Dulce Hernandez Cabrera and Samantha Torres Granda replied for Venezuela, which also earned a draw on Tuesday.

Canada continues preliminary group play on Thursday against Puerto Rico.

Meantime, the United States beat Cuba 18-3 and Argentina topped Mexico 10-8.

On the men's side, Argentina routed Ecuador 21-8, the U.S. beat Cuba 21-4 and Brazil downed Venezuela 22-2.

Canada's men have the day off and will play Venezuela on Thursday.

Competition will start in earnest on Saturday after Friday's opening ceremonies.

Canada has the largest team competing at the Toronto Pan Am Games, some-720 athletes, that have won a combined 28 Olympic medals. It's the largest Canadian team ever assembled for a multi-sport Games.

Canada, which was fifth four years ago in Guadalajara, Mexico, is gunning for the second spot in total medals, a position it has held only once before, in 1967 in Winnipeg.

The mighty Americans have topped the medal table in all but one of the 16 previous Pan Ams, losing to Cuba in 1991 in Havana. The U.S. team, with 623 athletes, is expected to stand atop the podium again in Toronto, travelling north with a squad that boasts 111 Olympians and 38 Olympic medallists.

Canada's chef de mission Curt Harnett, who sat shoulder-to-shoulder with U.S. chef Alan Ashley on Wednesday, said Canada will try to give the Americans a run for their money.

"I don't think that any match that our Canadian athletes enter into will be seen as a secondary match, but there is no doubt that we cannot ignore the powerful presence that the U.S. has always had," Harnett said.

"But the game is changing and our Canadian athletes are here to fight their battles, to compete and win, to show we are able to compete with the best."