United Arab Emirates – Thailand 4 – 3 (1-2, 1-0, 2-1)
DEHRADUN – The 2012 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia took off with the opening game featuring the United Arab Emirates (UAE) winning 4-3 against Thailand.
The game was very balanced between the two nations. UAE responded twice against Thailand after the latter scored in the first and second periods. The Emirati then pulled away thanks to a goal from Mubarak Almazrouei with just under five minutes left in the game, giving UAE the three points in their opening game.
On the Thailand side the game was mostly held together by the outstanding performance of Thamwongsin Arthit, Neimwan Likit and Chartsuwan. Chartsuwan was named India’s best player for the game.
Thailand will face Chinese Taipei in their next match, with UAE taking on Kuwait.
India – Macau 3 – 5 (1-0, 2-2, 0-3)
DEHRADUN – India’s debut at the 2012 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia was spoiled by Macau, which scored three unanswered goals in the third period to take their first game at the expense of the hosts 5-3.
Prior to the game, the host Indians were welcomed with a raucous atmosphere at the rink in Dehradun. When the home team entered the ice, the local spectators burst into a standing ovation, celebrating their country’s first ever international game on home ice.
The game against Macau was close through two periods. Despite showing up to the game seven players and a goalkeeper short in comparison to India, Macau was able to stay with the Indians and managed to turn up their game in the final frame. Chon Kong Leong, Macau’s captain, scored a hat trick, including the equalizer to erase India’s early 2-0 lead. He added two more in the third period to put the game away and earn Best Player honours.
Macau has their next game against Malaysia, while India has a day off before taking on the Malaysians as well.
TIMO PEKKA FRONDELIUS
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