2008 AL semifinals games 1-2
Posted by simon c on 2008 March 3日 Monday
Asia League Ice Hockey completed its first 2 games of the semifinal series this past weekend. Results were (home teams listed first):
2008.3.1 Seibu 2 – 3 Cranes
2008.3.1 High1 5 – 10 Oji
2008.3.2 Seibu 4 – 1 Cranes
2008.3.2 High1 2 – 3 Oji
So, Seibu and the Cranes split the games in Tokyo and head up to Hokkaido with the Cranes now having earned the home advantage with games 3 and 4 taking place up in Kushiro.
Oji pounded 10 goals into the High1 net despite only having 30 shots on net (33% shooting percentage!) in game 1. High1 finally pulled the starting goalie Eum (who had a solid regular season with 90.9% save percentage) after 32 minutes when he let in the 6th goal. High1 came back much sharper in game 2 with the 1 goal loss, but was still outshot 36-24. Defenseman Okubo was involved in both High1 goals, but was also on the ice for all 3 even strength Oji goals, so maybe the Japan national team candidate’s offensive prowess does come with a price.
Both teams with first round byes seemed to have been rusty coming off the long break in the schedule, as the league wrapped up its regular season on 27 January, and the top 2 teams didn’t see playoff action until 1 March, a month later (Seibu had the 3 Japanese championship games inbetween, but High1 was forced to play practice matches against local university teams to stay in game shape).
I attended the game 1 between Seibu and the Cranes in Higashifushimi, Tokyo. Seibu had solid rushes up the ice time and again in the first 2 periods, but hardly any of them led to quality scoring chances or shots. Then, as things came together for the team in the 3rd, Jamie McLennan was there to slam the door shut with one great save after another. McLennan deservedly won the game MVP. Seibu won game 2 convincingly by 3 goals, but all 5 goals in the game were scored on the power play (and only 1 Seibu goal was with a man advantage, the other 4 goals were scored with 2 man advantages!), so maybe this means Seibu hasn’t figured out McLennan yet, so it will be interesting to see what happens in games 3 and 4.
Some photos from game 1:
Cranes before the game.
Tyson Nash (looks like a playoff beard, but he’s had it since shortly after he landed in Japan)
Seibu power play in the 1st period
Cranes 2 on 1 rush thwarted by a Seibu defenseman
Some serious Ducks & Seibu fans who went to Anaheim to watch the Cup finals last season, and even got their jerseys signed by the players!
Seibu pointman taking a shot
Cranes congratulation line after the game
Jamie McLennan with his game MVP cardboard water bottle from the sponsor drink maker