Debuting national team forward Kim Varga fueled the Philippines to its first-ever win in the 2021 Men’s World Floorball Championships, 9-4, against regional rivals Singapore Sunday at the Helsinki Ice Hall 2.
This is likewise the first time the Nationals took a victory against the Southeast Asian powerhouse, and what grander stage to do it than the World Championships. With the win, the Philippines has a chance to move into the knockout rounds with a follow-up victory against Canada on Monday.
The IBF Falun Utveckling mainstay scattered five points throughout the match to pace the national squad’s attack, ending the match with a smart shot into the empty net to put away the win for good.
Varga along with Melvin Alm flexed the squad’s prolific start line as they combined with two goals in the first period, with the latter breaking Jared Tan’s guard repeatedly. The tandem opened the scoring for the Philippines at the 4:07 mark of the first canto, and close the same period for a 5-0 lead with 43 seconds left.
The second line would not be outdone as veterans Ryan Hallden and captain Lucas Oijvall found the back of the net. The latter doubled the lead for the Philippines just 26 seconds after the Alm breakthrough, while the former made it 4-0 to break a long scoring drought for the Nationals.
Singapore finally broke the ice when Hafiz Subir caught the erstwhile steadfast Patrik Nessbo by surprise, eight minutes into the second period. Nonetheless, another goal from Alm restored the five-point lead for the Philippines heading into the final frame.
The 2015 Southeast Asian Games champions then roared back and cut the deficit to three, 4-7, after captain R Suria sank a long shot off a power-play opportunity.
However, with time on their side, the Philippines just held on to the ball well and denied any chance for the Singaporeans on the goal. Instead, they put the finishing touches the way they started it with Alm and Varga doing their job on the attack.
That all-important match against Canada is scheduled on Monday at 1:00 pm (7:00 p.m., Philippine time) at the main rink of the Helsinki Ice Hall. A win will propel them to a playoff for a quarterfinal berth.