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Ari Arola/International Floorball Federation

Floorball

PH comeback too late against Estonia in Floorball Worlds debut


The Philippines broke loose in the final period, but the comeback proved too late as Estonia took the win, 13-6, in the pool phase of the 2021 Men’s World Floorball Championships, Saturday at the Helsinki Ice Hall 2.

Both teams came into the tournament as replacement teams for Australia and Japan, but the difference in the world rankings became evident in the match. The Estonians are the world no. 10, while the Filipinos are at number 35 — the lowest-ranked team in the competition.

Nonetheless, the Nationals stood their ground and showed what they are made of especially in that third period where they scored most of their goals.

The Philippines just needed one breakthrough goal to show that heart and shake off the debut jitters.

After surrendering two quick goals against Estonia in 15 seconds in the 35th minute, the Filipinos finally broke into the defense and got their first-ever World goal.

And it was Fredrik Jeppsson who had the honor for the milestone goal. The forward who is making his international debut for the country turned in a good pass from fellow debutant Melvin Alm to cut the deficit to nine, 1-10, with three minutes left in the second period.

Not to be outdone, veterans Christian Shoultze and Ryan Hallden, converted a nice interception at the centerline for the Philippines’ second goal. Shoultze found Hallden lurking in the right flank, and the latter blasted the ball past the Estonian goalkeeper Daniel Vaigur.

Alm could have gotten one for his own in the power play early in the third period, but Vaigur stopped his two shots to eventually complete the penalty kill. Nonetheless, the Filipinos would not be denied in the following power play as Jeppsson this time found Simon Andersson just near the crease for the third goal.

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Three more goals came from Jeppsson, Shoultze, and Andersson suddenly found the Philippines just four goals away from the more favored Estonians, 6-10.

That woke up the European side and closed out the match with three straight goals to put their opponents at bay, and eventually pocket the expected win.

Earlier, the Philippines stood their ground in the first period after surrendering two quick goals in the first four minutes of the match. Patrik Kareliusson opened the scoring for the Europeans at the 2:34 mark, before Mathias Einamann added one almost two minutes after.

Tanel Kasenurm then helped Estonia mount a 10-0 lead with four goals spanning the two periods, while Kareliusson drew two more goals in the second frame. This before the championship debutants roared back.

The Philippines will try to bounce back on Sunday against a more familiar foe in Singapore. The two Southeast Asian sides lock arms at 12 p.m. as well (6 p.m., Philippine time) on the same rink.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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