Warriors Top Sharks in Battle for First
February 20 - In a pivotal regular season game Thursday evening, the AsiaXPAT Kowloon Warriors held off the Scotiabank South China Sharks for a commanding 7-3 victory. The win gives the Warriors a crucial 3 point cushion for first place in CIHL with 5 regular season games remaining. David Belluche was a difference maker, providing a strong defensive presence from the back end and contributing 2 goals and 2 assists against a fatigued Sharks team.
The first period saw local product Moses Chang bang in a loose puck to open the scoring for the Warriors. The Sharks responded soon after when their captain Jordan So capitalized with a sneaky backhand from the slot to beat Warriors goalie Ashley Bock on the blocker side. However, that 1-1 score line was short lived as the Warriors scored in the last 2 minutes with a backhand deke by captain Gregory Smyth.
The game opened up more in the second with teams trading more chances. Sharks veteran Jamie Stark leaned into a slapshot from the high slot that went high glove and tied the game at 2. Devin Welsh drove wide and snapped a quick shot to the glove side to regain the Warriors lead with 5:20 remaing in the second period. A backbreaker for the Sharks was giving up a power play goal 2 minutes later, on an in tight flick shot by Smyth who was screening Sharks goalie King Ho, awaiting Belluche’s point shot.
The third period saw Stark get one back for the Sharks with his second of the night to make the score 4-3. That was as close as the Sharks would get, as the Warriors turned it up a notch and started piling on the offensive attack. Sharks goalie King Ho made some great saves but was hung out to dry on a few occasions which the Warriors buried. Goals were scored by David Belluche, Connor Quinn and then Belluche once more to make the final 7-3 Warriors.
The Warriors have a date next week with the upstart Manulife Macau Aces while the Sharks will look to rebound with an outing versus the plucky HKBN Hong Kong Tycoons.