KUWAIT CITY – Hong Kong won the fourth IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia that took place in Kuwait City during the World Championship.
Hong Kong became the third winner after Chinese Taipei (2008, 2010) and the United Arab Emirates (2009) of the event, which was created for countries that do not participate in the men’s category of the World Championship program.
Six teams took part in the round-robin event with 15 games this year.
Hong Kong had a tough opening schedule, playing the top-two seeded teams United Arab Emirates and Thailand in the very beginning.
The Emirates were leading after the first period and a goal from Juma Al Dhaheri, but the Hong Kongers scored four answered goals in the middle stanza from Yin Man Chan (2), Yannick Wong and Donald Tse for a 4-1 lead.
The Emirates tied it up with another goal from Al Dhaheri and two markers by Suhail Al Mehairi, but Wong’s second goal became the game winner in a 5-4 win.
The Hong Kongers had another come-from-behind win in another top game on Day 2 against Thailand.
Chanchieo Supadilokluk, Tewin Chartsuwan and Teerasak Rattanachot brought Thailand a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes, and the lead was cut only slightly before the second intermission as the Thai were 4-2 in front.
However, Hong Kong gained the momentum only 67 seconds into the third period when Donald Tse scored his second goal of the night. At 10:10 Jasper Tang tied it at four, and Yin Man Chan (2) and Bernard Fung added three more goals in the eventual 7-5 victory for Hong Kong.
Those two wins paved the way for victory as India (15-0), Macau (13-0) and Kuwait (6-1) provided little resistance to Hong Kong’s path to gold.
The United Arab Emirates secured the silver thanks to a 6-3 win against eventual bronze medalist Thailand on the last day.
Host Kuwait finished in fourth place ahead of Macau and India.
The Indians have yet to win their first international game, but Mohamed Igbal wrote history when he scored both of India’s goals in a 39-2 defeat against Kuwait – the first time India has scored two goals in one game.
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Asia has seen lots of international ice hockey this year. Back in November Japan won the Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia after a 3-1 victory in the gold medal game against China on home ice in Nikko. Korea finished third.
On Thursday a third event began with the University Challenge Cup of Asia in Changchun, China. Last year’s trio of Japan, Korea and China is joined by Chinese Taipei.
Earlier this year 17 teams took part in 41 ice hockey matches at the 2011 Asian Winter Games in Kazakhstan. The host nation won both the men’s title in Astana and the women’s tournament in Almaty.