Dubai Mighty Camels clinch fifth Emirates Hockey League title - in pictures
The Camels twice came from behind to defeat Abu Dhabi Storms in a shootout in the third match at Zayed Sports City Ice Rink
Dubai Mighty Camels clinched a record fifth Emirates Hockey League (EHL) title in dramatic fashion, winning a penalty shootout in the deciding game of the playoff against Abu Dhabi Storms on Monday.
The Camels twice came from behind to defeat Abu Dhabi Storms in the third match at the Zayed Sports City Ice Rink.
Roman Malyshev, the Russian forward playing in his first season in the EHL, netted both goals and the winner in the shootout after a 2-2 deadlock at the end of extra time.
Nabil "Billy" Kamleh, a founding member and captain of the Mighty Camels, described the final as the “most thrilling” tie he has been part of since the EHL was first played in 2009.
“It was so close and the first time all three games in the playoff final went into overtime and then the decider to a penalty shootout,” the Canadian told The National.
“It was a classic example of complete parity in the league. We were fortunate to reach the final and it was the best game in the series tonight. I think we played extremely well.
“We also have to give credit to the Storms. They made it very, very difficult for us and very proud of my guys. I think we had certain guys step-up in every single game. Tonight we had a great game.”
Borna Silovic opened the scoring for the Storms before Malyshev levelled with seven minutes left in the first period.
Luka Vukoja regained the lead for the Storms in the only goal in the second period and when it looked as though the Abu Dhabi side had done enough to claim their third EHL title, Malyshev equalised with just 33 seconds left on the clock.
“At every game we had a different Camel hero and it was Roman’s turn tonight,” Kamleh added.
“Max Rashchupuin, the goalkeeper, played phenomenally well. And all-round, very proud of the guys with each and everyone of our players chipping in with a contribution in winning the title.”
Camels stalwarts Kamleh and reserve goalkeeper Christian Montpetit have been part of all five of the Dubai club's EHL title wins..
Juma Al Dhaheri, the Storms and UAE national team captain, was gracious in defeat.
“It was disappointing to come so close and then lose, but credit goes to the Camels for the character they showed to bounce back each time we took the lead,” he said.
“We can take a lot of positives from the season, though. I’m very glad we were able to reach the final and feature in three top quality and exciting playoff games.
“I’m so glad to say the EHL is going in the right direction. Teams are getting stronger with more and more players arriving from established ice hockey playing nations and raising the bar every passing year.”
Updated: April 13, 2021 09:47 AM