Sharksâ€™ Early Dominance Too Much For Tycoons To Overcome
May 17th, 2022
The first CIHL semi-final got off to a great start as the fans at the Discovery Bay Ice Rink were treated to an entertaining game. The South China Sharks remained red-hot streak with an 8-7 win over the HKBN Hong Kong Tycoons, to punch their ticket to next week's CIHL Final. But it was not easy as the Tycoons did not go away quietly and fought until the last second of the game.
The Sharks got on the board early, just 25 seconds into the game when Kevin Oâ€™toole was able to put in a rebound past Tycoon's goaltender Grant Phillips who was subbing in for Emerson Keung. Special teams took over with O'toole tapping in a power play goal 3 minutes later. Then, while on a shorthanded breakaway, U18 Alyssa Ho roofed a shot into the top corner past Phillips for a commanding 3-0 lead. Yannick Wong got the Tycoons on the board at the 9:29 mark when he came across the front of the Sharks' net and tucked in a back-hander past goaltender Avery Gobbo. Ho regained the Sharks' 3-goal lead with her second goal of the night as she found a loose puck after a scramble in front of Phillips. Before the period ended, Matt Nuttall closed the gap to 2 as he converted a centering pass from Lucas Eshleman.
Taking a 4-2 lead into the second period, the Sharks blew the game wide open with 3 quick goals in a span of less than 4 minutes with O'toole and Ho completing their hat tricks. Connor Daly's goal, sandwiched between O'toole and Ho's goals, continued to impress with his strong play of late which has contributed to the Sharks recent success. The Tycoons played without Eshleman for most of the second period who was out with a lower body injury. His return later in the period made an immediate impact as the Tycoons scored twice with Wong scoring his second of the night and U18 Owen Kwok's goal on the power play that deflected off a Sharks' defenceman and past Gobbo. But before the period ended, O'toole scored his 4th goal of the night as his shot beat Phillips in the top corner for an 8-4 lead.
The third period was a nailbiter as the Tycoons scratched and clawed their way back. Nuttall got things going with his second of the night when he scored off his skate in a scramble in front of Gobbo during a 5 on 3 power play. Nuttall completed his hat trick with less than 5 minutes remaining and all of a sudden, it was an 8-6 game. Just over a minute later, Eshleman walked into one and blasted a shot past the blocker of Gobbo and closed within 1 goal. The Tycoons threw everything they could in the final minutes but could not beat Gobbo. The Sharks were able to hang on for the win and will face the winner of the Manulife Macau Aces and AsiaXpat Kowloon Warriors semi-final.
Gobbo stopped 38 shots while Phillips stopped 37.
Burger Joys Three Stars:
1. Kevin O'toole - Sharks
2. Ben MacAskill - Sharks
3. Mat Nuttall - Tycoons
Next week action in Discovery Bay
CIHL 2021-22 Championship Finals
Manulife Macau Aces vs South China Sharks
May 21st @ 8:00pm