Warriors Deliver Fatal Blow to Tycoons with Last Gasp Winner
July 2, Hong Kong
The AsiaXPAT Kowloon Warriors eliminated the HKBN Hong Kong Tycoons from playoff contention with just over a minute left in regulation Thursday night at MegaBox in Kowloon Bay. The CIHL's all-time leading scorer Gregory Smyth undressed a Hong Kong defenceman before chipping the puck in from in close as the Tycoons watched their season come to a close in agonizing fashion.
With none of the bottom three teams safe heading into Thursday night, everything was on the line for the two semi-final berths, setting up one of the most climactic nights in the league's history. Kowloon had long secured their spot in the Scotiabank Cup and hoped to play spoiler to the Tycoons in their final regular season encounter. The Warriors were sporting a plethora of call ups hoping to make their mark in the CIHL.
The game looked slated to head to overtime and Hong Kong would pick up the critical point they needed to vault into the semi-finals. Smyth had other ideas however, and after receiving a pass from Jake McDonnell, the former Dalhousie standout deftly rounded a lunging Hong Kong defenceman and calmly chipped the puck past the committed net-minder. With their season now on the line, Hong Kong pressed hard but were undone by an empty net marker from Mike Yoshino. It was a crushing blow for the team that had clawed back into the mix after looking like dead men walking before the Christmas break.
Kowloon will play the winner of the Manulife Macau Aces and the Scotiabank South China Sharks in next week's semi-final encounter.