TOKYO, Japan – The final week of play in September saw a bit more competitive play with the China Dragon off the schedule. The Nippon Paper Cranes lost a close one against High One but went on defeat Anyang Halla and Daemyung Sangmu. They remain in first place with a 7-2 record (24 points). The Oji Eagles also beat Halla and Sangmu and remain in second place with a 6-1 record (20 points).
The games began on Thursday evening with High1 hosting the Nippon Paper Cranes at the Goyang Sports Complex Arena.
Bin Ishioka sent the puck past Cranes goalie Hisashi Ishikawa for the victory in front of a home crowd of 1,123 following a scoreless overtime period. Mitsuake Inoue earned the win, stopping 38 of 38 shots faced.
It was the first loss for the Paper Cranes who had won six straight games to begin the 2013-14 campaign defeating the Tohoku Free Blades and China Dragon three games apiece.
Both teams failed to capitalize on two power play opportunities in the first period and the opposing goalkeepers stopped all shots to keep the frame scoreless.
The Cranes’ Masahito Nishiwaki finally broke the deadlock at the 31:03 mark, beating Inoue with a power play strike assisted by defensemen Hideyuki Osawa and Jun Tonosaki. Hirokazu Haruta made it a 2-0 contest at the 36:40 mark, fed by Osawa and Hiroshi Sato.
High1 tied the game up late in the third period with a pair of goals from prolific scorer Mike Swift. The first goal came at the 53:01 mark, when Swift delivered a pass from defenseman Bryan Young into the back of the net. Dong Hwan Song was credited with the secondary assist. Swift tallied the equalizer from the center circle with 46 seconds remaining in regulation, set up by defensemen Hyeok Kim and Ryuichi Kawai. It was Swift’s 12th goal of the young season.
The weekend’s action took place in front of light crowds at the Anyang Sports Complex Arena.
On Saturday afternoon, the Oji Eagles peppered Daemyung Sangmu goalie Sung Je Park with 53 shots but could not seal the win in regulation or overtime. They did however earn the 3-2 victory on a shot by Seiji Takahashi after a penalty-filled game.
An interference call on Eagles defenseman Thomas Kemp led to the fist score of the game. 44 seconds into the power play, Sangmu defenseman Hyon Ho Oh delivered a feed from Woo Sang Park past Eagles goalie Junji Ogino to make it 1-0. Yu Won Lee was credited with the secondary assist. In the final second of the period, a skirmish broke out, leading to mutual roughing calls on Sangmu’s Yu Won Lee and defenseman Yong Jun Lee and the Eagles’ Aaron Keller and Eric Lampe.
The Eagles out shot Sangmu 14-4 in the opening frame but the teams went to the locker rooms with no further scoring.
Eagles defenseman Ryu Hashiba was charged with Boarding and received a Game Misconduct at the 32:39 mark. Min Ho Cho made it 2-0 at 43:37 assisted by Sang Woo Sin and Won Jung Kim. The physical game continued and a Slashing call on Sangmu’s Byung Chun Jung led to The Eagles’ first score. Yosuke Haga beat Sung Je Park, assisted by Mike Kompon and Aaron Keller. Kompon tallied the equalizer with 1:29 remaining in regulation, assisted by Thomas Kemp and Keller.
The Eagles out shot Sangmu 21-7 in the final frame but were unable to notch the game-winner. That came from Takahashi after a scoreless overtime period in which the Eagles also out shot Sangmu, 7-3. Junji Ogono earned the win, stopping 21 of 23 shots faced.
In Saturday’s second contest, the visiting Nippon Paper Cranes defeated Anyang Halla 3-2 in another penalty-filled contest. Mike Radja scored the game-winner 42 seconds into overtime, assisted by Adam Miller and defenseman Hideyuki Osawa.
Halla was without Min Woo Lee, who was serving a one-game suspension following his actions during the game with High1 on September 21st.
The Cranes got on the scoreboard first, when Adam Miller beat Ho Sung Son at the 8:04 mark. Mike Radja and defenseman Jun Tonosaki were credited with the assists. The first skirmish of the game took place at 17:20 between Halla’s Brock Radunske and Sang Jin Park and the Cranes’ Mike Radja. Radja received 14 minutes in penalties. Radunske was assessed two minutes and Park, 12 minutes.
Halla’s Ji Man Joon made it 1-1 when he sent the puck past Cranes goalie Hisashi Ishikawa at the 20:29 mark, assisted by Kuk Hwan Mun and Radunske. Mike Testwuide made it 2-1 less than five minutes later with a strike assisted by Woo Je Sung and Young Jun Lee.
There was no scoring in the middle period and Halla led the shot count 15-12.
Daisuke Obara tied it 2-2 at the 50:06 mark, assisted by Hirozaku Haruta and defenseman Masahiro Ebina. Things got ugly 1:10 later when Halla’s Tae Hwan Park and Cranes defenseman Jun Tonosaki went at it, earning 14 PIM for Park and four minutes for Tonosaki. There was no further scoring in the period in which the Eagles led the shot count 19-14.
Despite a 3-1 shot advantage by Halla in overtime, Radja’s was the game-winner. Ho Sung Song earned the win, stopping 44 of 46 shots faced.
On Sunday, the Cranes earned a 6-5 win in regulation against Sangmu with the game-winner coming from Shunsuke Shigeno at the 51:36 mark, assisted by Hyung Yun Shin and Jun Tonosake. The Cranes out shot Sangmu 47-23 in the game. Byung Chun Jung scored two goals for Sangmu as did Hyun Soo Kim who had five points on the day (2 G, 3 A). Hisashi Ishikawa earned the win, stopping 18 of 23 shots faced.
The final game of the week was all Eagles as the visiting team defeated Halla 2-0. Halla out shot the Eagles in every period (18-13, 16-11 and 12-8) but a stellar performance by Junji Ogino earned him the win after stopping all 46 shots faced. Kohei Mitamura and Eric Lampe handled the goal scoring.
The Nippon Paper Cranes’ Mike Radja and High1’s Michael Swift are still tied for the league lead in goals (12) and the Cranes’ Adam Miller continues to lead the league in assists (21) and points (25). The Cranes lead the league on the power play (44.83%) and the Oji Eagles lead the penalty kill (92.59%).
October’s action will begin on Tuesday when High1 will host the Oji Eagles at Goyang.
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