For one team, Sunday was a lesson in perseverance and overcoming adversity. For the other, it was one in consistency and desire. High1 will undoubtedly not be forgetting their most recent 4-3 loss to Daemyung Sangmu anytime soon — especially considering the 3-1 lead they squandered in the third period.
552 spectators sprinkled the stands of Mokdong Arena in Seoul, South Korea on Sunday, January 26th to watch second place Daemyung Sangmu entertain High1, who sit fifth in Asia League Ice Hockey standings.
Despite High1 noticeably dominating the first period in shots, hits, and intensity, the game remained scoreless until late in the opening frame. The visitors power play unit cashed in with 4:25 remaining, as David Brine found the back of Sangmu’s net to tally the game’s first goal. Assists were credited to both of Brine’s foreign import teammates – Michael Swift and Bryan Young. Swift’s assist gave him a share of the league lead in points (58).
By the end of the first, High1 had outshot Sangmu 13-5, and looked to be well in control of the night’s action headed into the second period.
High1 extended their lead early on in the second, as Kwon Tae-An scored his team’s second power play goal of the night at 4:20, assisted by Kon Yosuke and Min Kwon-Ki. But despite their deficit, Sangmu kept composed, and cut High1’s lead in half with a goal by Cho Min-Ho at 9:18, assisted by Kim Won-Jung and Sin Sang-Woo.
The home team kept it a one-goal game through 40 minutes, and had even outshot their opponents 10-6 by the end of the second.
Third period action first saw High1 again score the first of the period, as Kwon Tae-An got his second of the night at 12:32 from Kon Yosuke and Kim Hyung-Joon. But again, Sangmu would not surrender. Perhaps sensing over confidence or misplaced comfort from the visitors, it was Sangmu who would dominate the remainder of the game.
The home squad found themselves with a two-man advantage shortly after, and with 5:16 left, team goal leader Park Woo-Sang again brought the home team within a goal, scoring his 27th of the season. Assists went to Lee Yong-Jun and Lee Don-Ku.
Fortunately for Sangmu, their quick goal only erased one High1 penalty, and while still on the power play, Kim Won-Jung and Cho Min-Ho set up Kim Yoon-Hwan for the equalizer with 4:53 to go in the game. With two assists on the night, Cho furthered his lead in league assists (40) and team points (54).
Two unanswered Sangmu goals would push the game to extra time with the score tied 3-3, while a noticeably shellshocked High1 team had no rebuttal. Sangmu appeared to get the game winner in overtime, but upon further deliberation by the referees it was ruled that the contentious goal had been kicked in, and was disallowed.
After five minutes of play, overtime had solved nothing. Finality came in the shootout, as High1 was unable to put the puck past Sangmu’s goalie, while Sangmu scored twice to clinch the shootout 2-0, and the game victory 4-3. Additionally, Sangmu outshot High1 in the game 31-24.
The meltdown loss was High1’s fourth of the year to Sangmu this year in the five games they’ve faced each other this season.
Daemyung Sangmu next heads east to Tokyo to take on the first place Oji Eagles on February 1st. Sangmu has not beaten Oji this season in four previous attempts. High1 returns home to Chuncheon to face the third place Nippon Paper Cranes on the same night, whom they have beaten three times and lost to once this season.
You can view a video of the game’s shootout here: http://youtu.be/J9F1U6uVWqY
Dave Cunning is a freelance writer from Kelowna, BC, Canada.
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