The long and hard fought SCIHL saw the culmination of its efforts with the SCIHL Championship game taking place at Elements rink in West Kowloon. With a bustling crowd braving recent events, a heated contest ensued pitting last seasons champions Sam Wai Raptors against a gutsy Rula Live team. Both teams had advanced from the semi-finals by sweeping their respective series 2-0, so there was little debate that these were the two in form teams fighting for the SCIHL Championship.
The game started quickly and Sam Wai found themselves in front early on the powerplay with smooth skating veteran Jim Chim arrowing a point shot that beat Rula Live goalie Tom Woods. Chim, who was a late season addition to the Sam Wai roster in place of the injured Niels Bakker, has proved to be a valuable pickup as he notched yet another important goal for the Raptors.
Sam Wai established early dominance in the game, and were twice denied a 2-0 by disallowed goals in the second period from the hardworking Patrik Hammaren and top scorer Jim Wong. They were not to be denied that second goal however, as ever crafty Keith Fong set up behind the net where he found star defenseman and Sam Wai captain Gene Cheh for a backhand goal that found its way past Woods.
Late in the second period, it was old reliable Art Tam that forced a turnover that led to a breakaway before being hooked from behind by Rula Live captain Jackie Chan. On the ensuing penalty shot, Tam played the patience game as he came in slow and beat Woods blocker side to give Sam Wai a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the third period.
With star goaltender Grant Phillips unavailable for the game, Sam Wai looked to Marco Au to shut the door the rest of the way along with what has been a very strong Sam Wai defense led by Cheh and the talented Josh Gordon. The skilled Rula Live trio of Jason Klotz, Leon Mo and Terence Chim tried to make some magic happen and it was speedster Chim that eventually got them on the board, getting behind the defense and roofing a shot over Au for a goal that gave Rula Live some hope with just over 4 minutes left in the game.
In a frantic final 2 minutes, Rula Live found themselves on the powerplay and desperately looked to claw themselves back into the game. Sam Wai goalie Au and the defense came up big though, and the win was secured when Hammaren found Art Tam, who put away an empty net goal for his second of the game and sealed back-to-back championships for the Raptors.
Captain Gene Cheh lifted the trophy for Sam Wai, in what was his final season before embarking on a new adventure in Dubai. A perfect send off for one of the league’s legends. Always a big game player and seemingly the frontrunner for the Best Defenseman and Playoff MVP awards every year, we wish Gene the best in the next chapter of his life.
A huge thank you to all the league staff that were involved in making sure that each and every week there were music played, goals and penalties announced, stats updated, pucks prepared, the Gatorade and Sapporo beer cold and available. The Game Officials are often forgotten and do not get enough credit. However, our crew did a tremendous job this season and we thank them for their support and hard work.
To our sponsors – in tough times, they still came through. We would not have a league without them. Thank you to Sam Wai, Bravo (Naruto), Sapporo Beer (Telford International), Rula Live, Inetasia, China Hockey Group (CHG), Gatorade and Monster Sticks. Special mention to CHG for their additional support behind the scenes. All the technology associated with the league such as the website and app was managed and provided by them.
Last but certainly not least, thank you to Thomas Poon for his continued support and congratulations to his Sam Wai Raptors on their repeat as SCIHL Champions.
We will continue to update everyone on the news regarding the situation with the 2020-2021 season. If you have any friends who may want to join the SCIHL next season, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For all the final scores and standings, as well is information on the league, please visit www.SCIHL.com for further information