x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Vipers sting the Camels hard

Al Ain ice hockey team comes back from deficit to win the best-of-three Emirates League play-off finals with a 4-0 win over their Dubai rivals.

The Vipers defence along with their goalkeeper have the post covered after a failed attempt from the Camels (in black, behind).
The Vipers defence along with their goalkeeper have the post covered after a failed attempt from the Camels (in black, behind).

ABU DHABI // The Al Ain Vipers ended the Dubai Mighty Camels' hopes of winning the inaugural Emirates Hockey League with a thumping 4-0 victory in the deciding game of the best-of-three final at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink on Wednesday. Mike Merriman scored twice in the second period of play, and Brian Slattery and Andres Meyer completed the rout in the final period to create a piece of history of becoming the first holders of the coveted title. Merriman started the thaw with a brilliant solo effort nine minutes into the second period of play and doubled the lead two minutes later with a neat flick in front of a crowded goalmouth. The Vipers enjoyed possession and territory in this period of play. Kevin Enmore's effort in the opening seconds crashed against the post and the Camels goaltender Rob Gray did well to prevent the Vipers from piling in more with a couple of good saves off Merriman and Meyer.

Slattery got the team's third in the opening minutes of the final period of play and Meyer, who scored a last minute winner to level the series in Monday's second game, completed a remarkable comeback story. The Camels won the first of the best-of-three deciders 5-3 in Dubai last week and the Vipers levelled the series after a 4-3 win in Al Ain on Monday. The Dubai outfit came into the finals having lost just two of their 16 regular league games, and they were widely tipped to win the league from the start of the season. But the Vipers did show character and proved they were the more deserving winners on the night. Their goalkeeper Michael Jabri-Pickett made sure he didn't allow his team's advantage slip away with some good work at the Vipers goal. He neutralized Chris Young's close range effort and twice prevented Kyle Highland from pulling a goal back for the Camels. apassela@thenational.ae