By Steven Ellis – Eurohockey.com
Division I All But Decided
Thanks to a 3-2 overtime victory over the pre-tournament favourites from Chinese Taipei, Thailand just need to tackle Singapore on Saturday to secure the tournament title for Division I at the Asian Winter Games.
Chinese Taipei took the early lead thanks to a goal seven minutes in by To Weng, a lead that would stand for almost the entire game. When teammate Chang-Hsing Yang made it 2-0 with 11 minutes left in the contest, it really looked like Taipei was in a great position to take the tournament lead heading into the final game later in the week.
But Swedish-born and trained defenseman Ken Kindborn was the man of the hour for Thailand, scoring the first goal and the eventual deciding marker before a minute was even complete in the extra frame. Kindborn is second in team scoring and fourth overall with eight points, and with one game to go, he’s been a major player for the team currently in the catbird seat.
Thailand just needs to beat Singapore on Saturday to grab the gold medal, which shouldn’t be a tough task. After four games, Singapore has scored just four goals and have allowed 42 to sit last place in Division I.
Third Place Heating Up
The battle for third also played a big role on Thursday, with the United Arab Emirates (11-2 over Singapore) and Mongolia (8-6 versus Hong Kong) both taking victories. The wins put them tied for third place with six points each, but the Emirates hold the tiebreaker, if needed, thanks to a 6-3 victory earlier in the tournament.
Mongolia will be in tough on Saturday, having to face Chinese Taipei, who of course still have a chance to win the gold medal. The Emirates will have it easier due to Hong Kong’s weaker place in the standings, but a win could boost them up to second if Mongolia loses as well.
History in Division II
A massive 14-2 victory over Qatar helped make hockey history as the Philippines managed to secure their first official victory.
Lenard Lancero posted three goals in the victory, with all three of the markers coming in the third period. Paul Sanchez was red hot as well, putting up seven points, including two goals as the biggest performer for Philippines. Adbdulla Mohammed scored both goals for Qatar.
The other game on Thursday saw Macau take down Indonesia 6-2 in what was Indonesia’s best game of the two they’ve played. Kim Hei Mok led the way with three points for Macau, while Ka Yu Jonay Leung scored twice for his nation. Indonesia’s goals came from Roy Nugraha and Ronald Chandra.