DEHARDUN – There’s no place like home. Never before had India won any of its 12 games in an IIHF or any other internationally tournament. Never before, that is, until today, when the hosts beat Macau 5-1 at the 2012 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia on home ice in Dehradun.
Thanks to solid defensive zone play and an organized attacking effort from their forwards, the Indians were able to come out and play a complete game against Macau, the team that they had lost to 5-3 in their opening game of the tournament.
The IIHF had a camera on the bench and on the ice to capture the historic moment. (Click here for the video.)
As in the first game, India got out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from forward Ganbo Tashi and defenceman Tundup Namgail. Though Macau scored to close the lead at one, India responded with three goals in the third period. Tashi, who also assisted on his team’s second goal, was chosen as India’s player of the game.
With the 5-1 victory, India registered two major first-ever achievements in their sporting history. Not only did they win their first ever international ice hockey game, but they scored more goals in one game than ever before.
“We were so close in the last game that I knew we could pull through,” said US-born head coach Adam Sherlip. “I’m incredibly happy and very proud of the team.”
India is to play yet another game today later, against Malaysia which is to have a large impact on how they will finish in the Preliminary Round. Malaysia is also to play against Macau, tomorrow late in the evening.
Since both teams share the same amount of wins, losses and points currently, the games against Malaysia decide who is to drop out and who will continue to the Semi-Final-Qualification Round. If Malaysia wins both of the games, India will continue, for the better goal difference to each other, this is also the case if India wins today again and Macau loses tomorrow.
If Malaysia wins over India today, than Macau still needs at least a point from the Malaysia game to secure its place in the following Round.
TIMO PEKKA FRONDELIUS
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