x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Puck stops with Abu Dhabi Storms

Yuri Faikov quietly confident about today's game against Al Ain Vipers that his side must win in regulation time to secure first place.

The Abu Dhabi Storms, coached by Yuri Faikov, centre, have not lost to the Al Ain Vipers in three meetings.
The Abu Dhabi Storms, coached by Yuri Faikov, centre, have not lost to the Al Ain Vipers in three meetings.

There will be a lot on the line when the Abu Dhabi Storms meet the Al Ain Vipers in the final game of the Emirates Hockey League regular season at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink.

The Storms need to win in regulation time to secure first place. The Vipers can clinch a spot in the play-offs if they win and the Abu Dhabi Scorpions lose to Al Ain Theebs.

The Storms have not lost to the Vipers in three meetings this season, but Yuri Faikov, the coach, has worked overtime with the players for this decisive game.

"You never know what to expect in such games," he said. "It is an important game for us for the first place and very important for them as well. We have done some extra work and want to play the best available team.

"We have a 100 per cent record over the Vipers but that doesn't guarantee a win for us. It only takes a few mistakes to throw everything away. We are aware of this situation and must be prepared for a tough game."

If the Vipers pull off an upset, they will have to wait for the outcome of the second game between the Theebs and the Scorpions to know their fate.

"All we can do is worry about us and get a win," said Kevin Emore, the Vipers defender. "We are in a must-win situation."

The Dubai Mighty Camels regained the league lead from the Storms with a 5-2 win over the Theebs this week. They are on 35 points, two more than the Storms, who have a game at hand. With a win in regulation time tonight, the Storms would take the title.

Ron Murphy, the Camels captain, said the two defeats to the Vipers were to blame for potentially missing out on first place.

"For the Camels, it has been a weird season," Murphy said. "We only lost four games, but two were to the Vipers who might not even make the play-offs.

"So we feel those two games cost us finishing in first. Our team needs to be better mentally and not to get so many penalties."

 

apassela@thenational.ae