UCL Yetis miss out on Ice Varsity victory in sudden death penalty shootout
On Friday night, UCL Ice Hockey took on their Varsity rival Imperial Devils in the annual London Ice Varsity.
The air was buzzing with a crowd of 500 UC and 200 Imperial fans. The hot dogs were on the grill and faces were painted blue and purple.
The 2014 London Ice Varsity promised to be an evening of intense rivalry, unleashing our innate university pride.
Imperial won the first faceoff but UC were quick to regain possession. The first attempt on goal was a UC one, but a solid Imperial goalkeeper proves hard to get by.
UC seemed to be dominating the first period. They were successful in turning around Imperial threats on goal. However, 7 minutes in, Imperial scores the first goal of the game.
Unperturbed by this, UC eased their way back into the upper hand. With 5 minutes left in the first period, UC #32 Chris Fox slots the puck into the goal, assisted by #8 Guido De Boer.
Imperial were able to turn the game around quickly. UC Keeper Nat Sinclair was left on his own to defend against Imperial #25 who was tearing up the rink. With a powerful hit, Imperial score their second goal of the game just 1 minute after UC’s goal, bringing the score to 2-1 to Imperial.
Two sin binned Devils at the end of the first period meant the second period started with 3 Imperial v 5 UC men.
Yetis won first possession, but even with the mismatch, they were unable to break through Imperial’s defence. Two minutes in, the game was back to 5 v 5.
Five minutes in, UC #2 Mark Ongemakh gracefully brought the puck up the rink unassisted and slotted it into the Imperial goal.
The second period proves to be much more physical, with the rivalry so closely matched and both sides determined to impress their fans.
Down at the Imperial end, two players threw off their helmets in anger. Imperial #52 Ryan Ritchie throws a punch at UC #13 Ruslan Ponomarev for reasons unknown to myself and other eager onlookers around me. Both are sent off for roughing.
With less than 2 minutes on the clock for the second period, De Boer scores a beautiful goal for UC, assisted by Fox and #44 Richard Pniewski, bringing UC to the lead with 3-2.
However, Imperial comes back with a goal just 30 seconds into the final period, levelling up the playing field once more.
14 minutes into the third period, Imperial hit the puck into the top of the UC net, a hat trick for Imperial Devil # 25 Ryan Eton. 4-3 to Imperial.
UC immediately returned with fired up intensity, dominating the attack. With just over 2 minutes on the clock, UC Ongemakh scored again, assisted by #55 Dylan Herzog.
At full time, the score stood at 4-4. 5 minutes overtime is called.
UC returns to the ice looking strong, maintaining possession. However, the Yetis are unable to get past the Imperial goalkeep who makes some spectacular saves against UC threats on goal.
With 1 minute left, “UCL” chants were louder than ever. A penalty was awarded to Imperial with 5 seconds left. Hearts racing, UC fans watched in silence as the seconds tick away.
Imperial was unsuccessful in their attack, resulting in best of 3 penalty shootouts followed by sudden death to decide the champions for the 2014 London Ice Varsity.
First up was Imperial’s Eton who scored in the left corner.
UC Chris Fox stepped up to take the Yeti’s first penalty and scores.
Imperial Devil Ritchie was up next and misses. Karma for roughing against our UC Yeti?
Second UC man up was De Boer, who was unsuccessful.
Last Imperial Devil up was #17 Gus Zimmerman, who missed, much to UCL’s pleasure.
With the penalty shootout score at 1-all, this was the decider. Ongemakh stepped up to take the penalty. But with the pressure mounting and all eyes on him, Ongemakh was unsuccessful in getting past the Imperial keeper, bringing the penalties into the dreaded sudden death round.
Imperial’s #69 took the first shot, scored.
UC chants drowned out the feeble Imperial cheers as our rivals took the next penalty. However, an unlucky attempt resulted in an Imperial victory.
From a non Ice Hockey background (and a totally unbiased point of view), UCL Yetis were obviously the better side. They were in possession most of the time, but a cracking Imperial keeper and the unfortunate sudden death shootouts allowed the Devils to sneak in and steal what was deservedly a UC victory.
What an exciting way to start the Varsity season. Definitely worth my £5.