The Abu Dhabi Storms will meet Dubai Mighty Camels in a repeat of the last year's final for the Emirates Hockey League. They will play in the first of the best-of-three final on Monday at the Dubai Mall.
The Storms overcame an opening game shock to outclass Al Ain Theebs 3-1 in the decisive third game of the best-of-three semi-final and the Camels got the better of the Al Ain Vipers 5-2 after the latter team had won the middle game.
Mubarak Al Mazrouie scored twice and Juma Al Dhaheri added the third for the Storms while Bojan Zidarovic pulled one back for the Theebs last night at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink.
Yuri Faikov, the Storms and the national team coach, said the Emirati players made all the difference in the last two gamesas they came back to win the away game 3-2 and last night's home match 3-1.
"The Emirati players contributed for us to reach the final," said the Belarusian. "This means they are peaking at the right time and the final would be a real good preparation for the Challenge Cup of Asia in two weeks time."
Al Mazrouie broke the deadlock in the 10th minute of the first period. The Emirati international following up a shot from Kellin Carson was on target on the rebound with a neat flick.
Khaled Al Suwaidi, the goalkeeper, then made three superb saves in the last four minutes of that period. He stopped two powerful shots from Zidarovic.
Al Suwaidi made another excellent save off a penalty shot from Vitali Suvoko to deny the visitors from drawing level early in the second period.
Mazrouie had an opportunity to double the lead but he was off target from a one-on-one with the goalkeeper but made up for it with when he scored on the run-of-play with a neat scoop to the back of the net.
The Theebs pulled one back through Zidarovic, who deflected Mohammed Saeed's shot 40 seconds left in the second period. But that was as close they got as the Storms regained the two-goal lead 19 seconds into the final period and then held on until the end.