Tue, Jul 29, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Buffalos surprise with win in Taipei league

By Grant Dexter  /  Staff reporter

The Leopard Cats’ Brandon DuBreuil, right, vies for the puck with the Black Bears’ Kenny Shih during their game at the Taipei Arena on Sunday night.

Photo: ChaNtal Liao

The Buffalos belied their bottom-of-the-ladder status with an entertaining 6-5 win over the Clouded Leopards at the Ice Land rink at the Taipei Arena on Sunday night.

Jack Weng opened the scoring for the Clouded Leopards, and Alex Whalen and Andy Shen combined to outflank goaltender Tiffany Hsu and one defender to double the lead in an opening that might have been expected.

However, Tony Chao skated the length of the rink, beat two challengers and then the goaltender to bring one back in a spectacular opening for the underdogs.

The Buffalos defense was doing the team no favors, leaving Weng far too much room, which he thrived on. Picking up the puck in defense and skating down the right, Weng hit a long-range shot in for 3-1.

The Buffalos’ James Laio made it 3-2 before Dennis Chou scored. Then Liao put them ahead with a nimble piece of stickwork to beat the goaltender.

Weng equalized hitting past Hsu, who was challenged often and pulled off some fine saves.

Wade Chang, assisted by Chou, made a 2-on-1 count and then Chang extended the lead with a flick past the goaltenders right shoulder for a two-point cushion with seven minutes to go.

The match ended in confusion with the clock frozen on 3 minutes, 5 seconds remaining, a manual countdown, no buzzer and lengthy discussions between Leopards players and the referees over a couple of disputed goals, one of which was awarded to the Leopards, but the result stood — the Buffalos surprise winners by one.

Shilin High School of Commerce student Chang said after the game that he was not unused to being a game winner.

“I often win games for my team,” he said after being asked about his pair of late goals.

“I tricked the goaltender into going left and I shot right,” he said, describing his second goal.

“Tiffany went well today,” the 16-year-old added, referring to their goaltender.

“I’m just filling in,” Hsu said. “The regular ’keeper went back to Canada, and I was playing because their second goalkeeper could not be here tonight.”

The Buffalos might look to keep her on the ice for as many games as possible before she too returns to Canada to resume her studies.

Earlier, the Black Bears and the Leopard Cats had a 3-3 draw. The result left the Bears on the top of the table. The previously winless Buffalos are still last in the standings.

Meanwhile, Chantal Liao returned from an International Ice Hockey Federation female referees training camp in Finland.

“I’m proud to be the only female referee/linesman in Taiwan,” she said. “All the girls at the camp were stronger and faster than me and have been refereeing for more than three years, but I have only been a referee for half a year. So it was really hard to train with them. Mostly, I am afraid to referee, because the players are stronger and faster than me. But before every game, and when we left the camp, the girls encouraged me.”

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