Aries 6, 2078, m249
Today’s 2 to 0 Khimik win over the Cosmonauts resembled, in many ways, a tightly contested chess match. This should come as no surprise for the two heavily rostered Russian teams.
The game was peppered with shrewd moves, crafty counters, and secure defence, which prevented very few openings—not unlike the many chess-match games we saw during the MAFL season.
While ISMO hockey and MAFL Football are similar in their use of chess-like strategies and tactics to generate openings, the pace of the matches are a sharp contrast. they vary quite significantly in pace of match.
MAFL football have more stop and go motion, leading to more broken plays and turnovers. ISMO hockey is more fluid and distinctive in its smoother puck movement, transitions and longer possessions.
The unbroken plays of ISMO hockey naturally leads to more scoring chances. This has created an ever-changing dynamic between the defenders and forwards as they support their goalies in protecting the net. Suffice to say, this interplay is becoming one of the most exciting and defining aspects of ISMO hockey.
In today’s match, Khimik goalie, Veronica Danilenko, was shielded from 21 of the 27 shots the Cosmonauts attempted, by the coordinated efforts of the Khimik forwards and defenders. The Cosmonauts were equally focused on protection as their defenders and forwards blocked 28 shots.
The focus on keeping their goalies fresh, has enabled players to be more involved in the play—frequently making passes to start an offensive rush, something not so common in MAFL yet.
Today’s game was also light on penalties, quite unlike the MAFL matches we’ve grown used to.
Without the luxury of numbers, penalties mean a razor-thin margin of error for the offending team.
For a tense two periods, there were no mistakes as both teams countered each other’s offence and kept the scores at nil. Not until the third period did an opportunity present itself.
Four minutes after the start of the third period, Khimik forward, Ruslan Vasiliev’s shot deflected off the well-intended stick of Cosmonauts’ defender Katy Fedin, and into the net for the game’s first goal!
Three minutes of scrambling back and forth. And Vasiliev scores again!
In his second goal of the game, Vasiliev redirected a long pass from Petrovyh, to bounce the puck off the skate of Cosmonaut defender Vitalia Bruian, and past Cosmonaut goalie Marius Hansen.
“We had very few chances as their whole team played solid defence,” said Cosmonauts’ Anna Fedin.
Khimik goes to 2 and 2 with this win while the Cosmonauts drop to 2 and 2 with their loss.