Warriors' Veterans Dominate in Win over Aces
February 27 - First placed AsiaXPAT Kowloon Warriors continue to run away with league after cruising to a 6-2 win over the Manulife Macau Aces Thursday evening. It was another impact game for franchise players Gregory Smyth and Michael Yoshino, each contributing two goals to the winning cause.
It’s been a completely different story for the Warriors in 2019-2020. After posting their third consecutive win, last season’s play-off absentees sit firmly in first place, five points above their counterparts The Macau Aces and the South China Sharks. A rejuvenated group of veterans, along with the insertion of first overall draft pick Connor Quinn, have been largely responsible for the quick turnaround.
The first period went scoreless, with both teams exchanging good chances. Aces’ star goaltender Liam Moorfield-Yee faced a barrage of shots in the period, making a couple of spectacular saves off opportunities from Devin Welsh and Jake McDonnell. At the other end, South African national team net-minder Ashley Bock was equal to the task, making 12 first period stops, including a handful on the wily Spencer Cameron.
The second period saw the scoring open up, with the Warriors banging in three consecutive goals. Both of them looking like a pair of fine red wines improving with age, Smyth and Yoshino combined on each of the first three markers. Smyth drew first blood at 12:35 with a trademark clapper from the right wing before adding another on the power play. Yoshino would make it 3-0 after Smyth turned provider at 4:04. The pesky forward capitalized on a cross-ice pass from the captain rounding a hopeless Moorfield-Yee.
The Aces answered late in the frame on a power play of their own. With only 39 seconds remaining in the period, a tic-tac-toe play that started with Cameron from the corner feeding Whitney Olsen at the point ended with a creative back door pass to Jon Allen to tuck it in the gaping net.