x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Ice hockey play-offs taken to the wire as Vipers and Storms record wins

Both semi-finals in the Emirates Hockey League will be decided in final match after the best-of-three games were levelled.

The Al Ain Vipers, in black, came back from 4-1 down to defeat the Dubai Mighty Camels 8-5 and force a deciding play-off match tonight.
The Al Ain Vipers, in black, came back from 4-1 down to defeat the Dubai Mighty Camels 8-5 and force a deciding play-off match tonight.

The Al Ain Vipers and the Abu Dhabi Storms have taken the semi-final play-offs of the Emirates Hockey League to the full distance.

The Vipers came from 4-1 down to defeat the Dubai Mighty Camels 8-5 on the latter’s home ice and the Storms edged out the Al Ain Theebs 3-2 away to level the best-of-three-game series. The finalists will be decided after the last round of games.

“Once again the team showed real character when pushed to the corner,” said Kevin Emore, the Vipers defender.

“It was another win or bust game for us, and the guys came out really well from what was potentially the end for us. We were 4-1 down in the middle of the second period and that’s when we picked ourselves up again to fight to the end.

“Oh boy, didn’t we fight. It was fantastic win. We had some of our players back and hopefully take this momentum to the next game.”

It was the second time the Vipers bounced back. They returned from the brink to qualify for the play-off after a stunning victory over the Storms, ending all hopes for the latter team to finish first at the end of the regular season.

“I don’t think we could afford to go over that again,” added Emore. “The pressure is in both teams and it would be the best team on the night. Hopefully it would be us.”

The Vipers were the winners of the inaugural EHL crown in 2009/2010 and the Storms are the defending champions. The Dubai Mighty Camels were the runners up on both occasions.

apassela@thenational.ae