Rishabha 21, 2078, m249
Vicky Li once again scored the deciding goal to wrap up the final game of ISMO’s exhibition hockey with a definitive win for the Moles!
The 19 year-old San Olympian fired off the winning goal in overtime after scooping up a stray puck and taking a slapshot from the left circle. The puck ripped by an unprepared Arquette as he belatedly reached to stop it.
“I never would have imagined that I would get this chance!”, exclaimed Li, “I’m thankful to ISMO for bringing us together to experience this incredible game. I’m not entirely sure how to return to normal live on Mars after this.”
The energy from from the fans for the final game in the special championship series was palpable. Fans exploded in cheers from the very start as the players skated down the ramps onto the ice.
The game swung in the Wildcards favor early on, with Marquez converting a backhanded pass from Halvorsen into a goal high into the right corner of the Moles’ net. Moles forwards, Mattila and Bello really put the pressure on the Wildcards tonight as they kept a strong offensive and multiple attempts on the goal.
The Wildcards retaliated by getting physical.
Not long into second period, Phan was penalized for cross-checking after being clipped by Mattila in a scramble for the puck. Within a minute of Phan getting back on the ice, Lehmann took his place in the penalty box for hooking.
Arquette was able to fend off the Moles power plays, making 9 stops over the back-to-back penalties.
“She’s been our rock over all these games,” says defenceman, Brandon Phan, “She held on and kept us in the game even when we weren’t pulling our weight.”
The Wildcards, however, couldn’t hold on for the distance.
Taylor was able to finally break through the Wildcard defense and swoop around the back of the net to tip the puck into the goal right at the end of the 3rd period with less than 3 minutes remaining.
“We almost didn’t make it,” grins Taylor after the game, “a hair slower or if the puck missed, that could have been the end for us. It was too close for comfort.”
The Moles returned to the ice for overtime, determined to make up for the first two periods. Moles captain Campbell was pulled from play for tripping and the defense put on a spectacular play as the Hall and Li guarded their house.
At 6 minutes into overtime, Li put her speed to good use as she flew wide around the ramp to gain control of a loose puck and fire it into the net. The entire stadium erupted into a frenzy of cheering as Li’s exuberant teammates poured onto the ice to celebrate the victory.
“This is a groundbreaking moment for Martian history,” said Seulovik, “The desire for sports and recreation on Mars is not just growing, it’s flourishing. ISMO is going to continue with the mission to foster and drive the evolution of sport on Mars. I almost made the biggest mistake by not supporting the players on their request for a championship match. This incredible series was because of their passion.”