Noviymir fans were treated to a rare battle between the two Noviymir-based teams, with the Moles’ Fredrick Mattila delivering the difference as the Moles won 1 – 0 over the Cosmonauts.
Mattila picked up the goal when he deflected Kara Okeke’s point shot past Cosmonauts’ goalie Marius Hansen at 13:47 of the 3rd period.
“We are are all out-of-colony guests for the program”, said Moles Captain Janice Campbell. "Noviymir has been a wonderful host to all of us, but the Cosmos are clearly the hometown team.”
In a tightly contested game between the Moles’ Campbell, Okeke, and Hall Trifecta, and the Cosmonaut’s Fedin Sisters, both teams battled hard. The Moles ran a tight team-oriented defence today, steering away 40 attempts, and limiting the Cosmonauts to just 13 direct shots at the net.
“They played solid defence as all of their players pitched in to shut us down,” said Anna Fedin. “Looking forward to facing them again and hopefully getting a different result”.
And it is likely both teams will meet again as they both qualify for the next exhibition stage.
This win propels the Moles to the top spot for the first exhibition season with a 5-1 record.
The Cosmonauts dropped to 3 - 3 for the season but good enough for third place.
There is speculation that the Moles will relocate to one of the target colonies for the stage 2 exhibition (experts are pegging Marineris as a likely choice as two players are native residents). The two teams are developing the makings of a good rivalry which would be amplified with the move.
Whether the prototype game can be a viable sport is still in question.
The first stage of exhibition games has shown some promise but with the exception of the Moles, Cosmonauts and the Wildcards (powered by the Magical Mateo Martinez), the skill level and athleticism of the other teams is significant problem .
The awkwardness and criticism of the first few games has diminished somewhat over the exhibition period. Whether this has diminished enough to generate the interest and more importantly the investment to propel ISMO to becoming a full-fledged league, remains to be seen.
While moving the Moles to Marineris would surely be a key step in accessing that market’s extensive resources to expand ISMO to the next level, it’s all about the on-ice product after all.
So here’s to strong reception in the next stage and the promise that something will germinate!