Taurus 1, 2078, m249
In front of a raucous home crowd, the Wildcards escaped with a last minute 1 - 0 over Khimik at Wendland rink. And with the win, the Wildcards move to 2 and 2 for the season while Khimik moves to the bottom of the second exhibition round with a 1 – 3 record.
Despite a barrage of scoring chances from Khimik throughout the game, the Wildcards’ Jules Arquette was brilliant in net and steady defensive play from Amelia Harris and Brandon Phan also helped shut down Khimik attempts.
“Very frustrating,” said Khimik Captain, Alex Yanovna. “I feel like we were the better team as we had so many scoring chances but luck was not on our side.”
Luck was clearly not on Khimik’s side but frustration was, as Khimik exhibited wildly aggressive play throughout the game resulting in four penalties – two in the 1st and 2nd periods respectively.
To Khimik’s fortune, the Wildcards were unable to capitalize on the power play opportunities as Khimik goalie Veronica Danilenko matched Arquette’s brilliance with repeated saves.
And just as all signs pointed to overtime, the Wildcards forward, Mateo Martinez was able to provide a spark of magic. With less than a minute to play in the game, Martinez was able to cut through two defenders and fire a wrist shot just over Veronica Danilenko for the winning goal.
For Martinez, it was his 18th goal in 10 games.
After the goal, a number of Khimik players smashed their sticks on the ice and refused to speak to members of the press.
Yanovna did offer this statement, “No, we are not happy with our record so far and it does not help that the media is focusing so much on our losses. I think this is fueling all the negative comments we are getting from Europa fans. As pioneers of hockey on Mars, we think Europa colony should give us a bit more credit. All I hear are their complaints.”
Europa resident and Khimik player Peter Lehmann tried to defuse the situation upon hearing his teammate’s comments.
“Look, losing sucks period. For all my Korolev teammates, it’s been a hard adjustment for them in a new colony. They take losing hard and don’t feel like being out so it’s not like they are purposefully trying to insulate themselves from the Europa colony,” said Lehmann.
“I tell my teammates that Europa fans are complaining because they are passionate about sports just like they were with their MAFL team, Europa United. They gave it to them so that’s why they’re also giving it to us. I’d rather they say something than nothing because then, that means they don’t care. The best solution to this is just win.”
Regardless of how they feel, Khimik will be playing at their host colony, Europa. Stay tuned next week as Khimik takes on the Cosmonauts on Taurus 15.