By Adam Steiss – IIHF.com
Edging Mongolia 5-4 in its last game, Team UAE claimed its third IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia title.
Tournament star forward and top scorer Jumah Al Dhaheri got the game winner in the shootout against Mongolia, while goalie Khaled Al Suwaidi stopped both of Mongolia’s shooters to seal the gold medal for the Emirati.
The two teams came into the game tied in points after putting up three straight wins in the previous days to set up a winner-take-all clash at The Rink Ice Arena in the Thai capital of Bangkok, which hosted the 2017 Challenge Cup of Asia.
Mongolia built up a 2-0 lead in the first period, and was still up 4-2 halfway through the game before a furious Emirati comeback, led by a pair of goals from Khalifa Al Marhooqi, sent the teams into overtime and eventually closed with a shootout victory for UAE. Marhooqi finished the game with a hat trick, earning him the game’s Best Player award.
Al Dhaheri took home both the tournament Top Scorer and Top Forward honours, after posting a sparkling eight goal, six assist stat line in just four games. Hi teammate Al Suwaidi earned the Best Goaltender nod, thanks to a 90.00 save percentage and a 3.00 GAA.
The tenth edition of the Challenge Cup of Asia tournament saw five teams compete in a four-game round robin. Team Mongolia win its fifth straight medal in the competition, claiming the country’s first silver medal ever to go with four bronze in 2013-2016.
Tournament hosts Thailand finished ahead of Singapore and Malaysia to claim the 2017 bronze medal.
Team UAE’s victory halted the streak of four consecutive tournament victories by Chinese Taipei, which did not participate in the 2017 CCOA after joining the IIHF Championship program where it will be competing in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division III in April.
The IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia is an international ice hockey tournament held annually in Asia, and is designed to provide competitive opportunities for Asian teams that are either in the lower divisions of the IIHF World Championship or do not compete in the World Championship. The first event was held in Hong Kong in 2008.