Six goals in the third period propelled reigning Southeast Asian Games men’s ice hockey champion Philippines against a resilient Indonesia side, 8-1, and clinched its place in the semifinals, Wednesday at the SM Skating Mall of Asia.
The Filipinos came out of the final frame with the aim of getting the job done following a close 2-1 lead after two periods.
“We talked in the intermissions and then found our step again in the third period, and were able to close the game,” said team captain Steven Fuglister.
And find their step they did, netting the puck six times in the payoff canto.
Fifty-eight seconds into the period, Jan Regencia drilled in a pass from captain Steven Fuglister to restore the two-point lead for the Filipinos at 3-1.
The skipper then took a brace for himself off a delivery from his assistant captain Carl Montano. Another goal followed, this time off a great team play from Montano and Regencia. The score went up to 5-1, with the win virtually sealed. Three more goals in the last few minutes of the game were just the exclamation point on the win.
The two-time Challenge Cup of Asia medalists opened the match on a high note. Two goals in just the first six minutes put them in the lead at 2-0. Carlo Tenedero scored just 59 seconds from the opening alarm, while former Volcanoes stalwart Kenneth Stern netted at 6:02.
A penalty called on goaltender Paolo Spafford by the end of the opening period served as a warning sign from the upset-conscious Indonesians in the following frame.
But the visitors were unable to capitalize on the man-advantage, though they made up for it with two successful penalty kills. Jonathan Nughara then plucked a much-needed goal for his side in the 3rd minute to cut the deficit to one, 1-2.
“We came out slow in the first period but finished strong. Indonesia’s goalie played an outstanding game by denying us chance after chance,” Fuglister admitted.
In the crucial match against Thailand on Friday, the two-time Challenge Cup Most Valuable Player shared that, “As a team, we haven’t talked about Thailand yet. We focused on all the games we have every day.”
The captain once more paced the scorers with three points off two goals and an assist. Tenedero, Regencia, and Montano added two markers each.
The Nationals claimed the top of the table at 3-0, ahead of Thailand, which has a game at hand at 2-0.
The title-holders sent Indonesia to a must-win match against Malaysia (0-2) after dealing it its third straight loss. Singapore remains in third at 1-1.
The Philippines will take on Thailand on for the semifinal top seed on December 6, Friday at 7 p.m. at the same rink.