Rishabha 1, 22, 2078, m249
The Moles disposed of Khimik 3 – 0 led by Kara Okeke’s 2 assists and a goal and another Sam Bailey shutout.
For Bailey, it was another brilliant day, as he made 14 saves to record his third shutout in six exhibition games in the second round.
For Okeke, who is mostly known for her defence, it was her best offensive game of the season.
“As the exhibition round progressed, I felt more comfortable in taking more chances in leading the rush and being creative on the offensive,” said the 23-year-old San Olympian.
And that she did as she opened up scoring in the second period with an end to end rush that drew two defenders her way before she deftly dropped the puck to a trailing Aaron Bello who snapped a shot past Khimik goalie Veronica Danilenko.
Just four minutes later, Okeke led another rush down the ice, waited for a few teammates to screen Danilenko, before slapping a shot from the point past a blinded Danilenko to make the score 2 – 0.
In the third period, Okeke played a little give and go with teammate Bryan Taylor who slid the puck between Danilenko’s legs to ice the game 3 – 0.
With the win, the Moles moved into a first place tie with the Wildcards to end the second round of exhibition for ISMO hockey. Both the Wildcards and Moles ended with a 4 – 2 record.
“I’m not sure what happens next but it would be nice to see if we could have a tiebreaker to see who the top team really is,” said Moles Captain Janice Campbell. “I believe we were both the best teams in round 1 and round 2 so I think the fans deserve a definitive champion.”
In his address to the media afterwards, ISMO President Fredrick Seulovik was a bit coy on a potential final match.
“I’ll talk to each of the teams and colonies to see where we go from here but based on the positive feedback we’ve been getting so far, I believe exhibition hockey has been a success. Overall, we’re pleased with the participation.”
However, when asked about the format complaints Khimik issued to ISMO about the Europa colony, Seulovik responded, “We’ll take a look into that and talk with both parties. Lots of lessons learned in this exhibition, but overall the needle is pointing upwards.
For Khimik, that needle was pointing straight back to Korolev as players immediately left after the game. In a prepared media statement, Khimik expressed discontent with the Exhibition format, “We never should have left Korolev. As the pioneers of hockey, it was a mistake for us to leave such a supportive colony for one that was indifferent.”