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Lions secure 1st place with commanding 11-4 win over Warriors

Lions secure 1st place with commanding 11-4 win over Warriors

March 8th, 2024

Heading into the final game of the SCIHL regular season, the RBC Lions were looking to clinch first place in the league standings. Anything less would mean leaving their fate in the hands of the Macau Aces, who still had one game remaining and were only a point back of the league leaders.

However, the Kowloon Warriors, who are locked in third place in the SCIHL, were looking to play the role of spoilers in their final regular season game against RBC. They intended to pull that off with Ray Loo in net, who was recently picked up by Kowloon for the rest of the season as former goaltender Antoine Devolz made the transition to skater due to a nagging knee injury.

The Warriors started strong on an opening minute goal by the Warriors' Ben MacAskill, one of the toughest players to go up against in Hong Kong. Kowloon would go on to pepper RBC goaltender Rudi Bernart with 11 shots in the first period but the team could only convert on MacAskill's goal. The Lions found its stride halfway into the opening frame though as Greg Smyth would find the back of the net. That was followed up by Chloe Fong potting her sixth goal of the season. Finally, RBC's LPP Lucas Eshleman would get one past Ray Loo to close out the period's scoring.

With the game sitting at 3-1 in favor of the Lions, the team continued on its roll with LPP Jimi Fanstone's marker just 16 seconds into the second period. However, the Warriors would finally snap RBC's string of unanswered goals just two minutes later as U18 LPP Julian Ikeda sent a pass over to his father Kosuke, with the elder scoring his fifth of the season to pull Kowloon within two. RBC responded as LPP Jimi Fanstone would find the net for his second goal, making the game 5-2 for the Lions. Not to be outdone, Ben MacAskill would also score his second on the night to pull the Warriors within two goals yet again.

Robbie Schremp would then finally get a goal of his own for RBC on an individual effort, putting the score at a 6-3 Lions' lead. The flurry of action extended into the final minute of the second period as Kosuke Ikeda would pot another goal, assisted again by son Julian, with just 55 seconds remaining in the frame. The action continued right up to the last 15 seconds of the period as RBC, refusing to stand on their two goal lead, increased the margin with Jeff Griffin scoring his first goal of the match to close out the frame.

Heading into the third period with a 7-4 lead, the RBC Lions never looked back. Amazingly Jeff Griffin, who came into the game with just three goals this season, would go on to complete a natural hat trick with goals at the first and fourth minute mark of the third period. To top it off, Robbie Schremp would find the back of the net again and LPP Jimi Fanstone would round out a hatty of his own to close out the game in an 11-4 RBC Lions victory over the Kowloon Warriors.

All but one of the Lions' players registered at least a point in the match. Robbie Schremp had an astounding eight points, the most in any game this season. Hong Kong's version of Gretzky capped off the regular season as the highest scoring player in an SCIHL campaign, finishing with 22 goals, 46 assists in 15 games and a mindblowing point per game average of 4.53. With the victory, RBC is crowned the regular season champions and will be the team to beat heading into the first round of the SCIHL playoffs against the beleaguered Hong Kong Tycoons.

Ironically the Warriors' loss guaranteed that they would not have to face the powerhouse Lions in the playoff's opening round. Julian and Kosuke Ikeda each had two points, along with hulking defenseman Benny MacAskill's pair of goal. LPP Whitney Olsen also chipped in with three assists on the night. The team will head into the first round of the playoffs as underdogs against a strong Macau Aces roster.

UPCOMING GAMES - March 14th @ Discovery Bay Ice Rink

Game 1: Lions vs Tycoons @ 8:15 pm
Game 2: Aces vs Warriors @ 9:15 pm

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