Story by Jiexin Neo/Red Sports. Photos by Clara Yuan and Rebekah Abbott/Red Sports
Bedok Sports Hall, Thursday, May 29, 2014 — Despite having two 2-minute penalties, Raffles Institution (RI) showed resilience to beat Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) 3–2 and claim the National A Division Floorball Championship title.
RI last won the title in 2008 and failed to make it into the top four last year. On the other hand, this is ACJC’s first time playing in the final. They finished third last year.
Muhammad Amirul Afiq’s (RI #45) goal towards the end of the game allowed RI to break a 2–2 tie with ACJC and claim the title.
Early into the game, Vignesa Pasupathy (ACJC #33) attempted a long-range shot from the halfway line, but it was tipped over the post by RI goalkeeper Sean Jou (#1). In the next transition, RI tried for a shot but it was blocked out of bounds. Tay Yang (RI #10) shot one too, but it went just wide of the post.
The first goal came in the third minute, when Zhang Zhen Ming (RI #9) slotted one in from the left to put his team 1–0 up.
For ACJC, Kumaresa Pasupathy (#34) was one player who consistently outran his defenders with good speed, beating them to the ball to go on strong drives. RI however still managed to cut off ACJC’s offensive plays with an alert defence.
RI played with fluid passes and found one another easily on court with the ball. They were looking for a second goal but ACJC goalkeeper Wong Zong Yan (#1) managed to block several of their attempts.
In the 11th minute, Nicholas Ho’s (RI #14) shot went unattended and into the net, allowing his team to take a 2–0 lead.
Just before the first period ended, Ivan Ho (ACJC #70) took a free hit just before the post, but the ball was met by the wall of RI defenders. ACJC trailed by two goals going into the break.
In the second period, RI had good chances to pull away further, but Zong Yan (ACJC #1) deflected several of their shots away.
For ACJC, they made more shooting attempts this period, but Sean (RI #1) managed well, registering composed saves one after another. Issac Lee (ACJC #10) went for a strike from the halfway line in the ninth minute, and the ball travelled straight towards the post, but Sean (RI #1) saved impressively.
With five minutes to go, Nicholas (RI #14) served a 2-minute penalty, leaving RI with one man down. ACJC had a chance with a power play but RI’s Ng Jun Jie (#3) and Sakthi Vel (#4) had good defence to keep it a goalless second period.
The first goal for ACJC came seven minutes into the third period, when Kumaresa (#34) slotted the ball in from the left to reduce the deficit by half (1–2).
With five minutes of regulation time remaining, RI goalkeeper Sean (#1) came onto the court without a helmet. Due to incorrect goalkeeper equipment, RI were given a 2-minute penalty, but an RI field player was allowed to serve the penalty in place of Sean. ACJC were also awarded a penalty shot.
Vignesa (ACJC #33) took the penalty shot, and successfully drilled the ball into the top corner of the net by looping the ball over RI goalkeeper Lim Jingzhou (#50) to make it 2–2.
Then on, the pace of the game heightened as both sides stepped up on their defence, clearing the ball even before their opponents took shots.
After a short time-out with two minutes to go, Muhammad Amirul Afiq (RI #45) scored from half-court to give RI a 3–2 lead.
ACJC went in search of another equalizing goal but were denied by RI goalkeeper Sean (#1).
ACJC captain, Ivan (#70), said, “It was very intense. Raffles had a good lead, as we started off very weak. But we came back stronger for a comeback, and we felt very high when we managed to equalize. In the end the last goal we felt it was very unlucky. Overall the whole season was good, but we had some obstacles along the way, when we didn’t play our best, and when we drew YJ, it was really a heart pain for us. But we got back up and eventually we won the semi-final. So I think it was a good season.”
On what spurred them on to eventually level with RI, Ivan added, “We realized it was the last 15 minutes of our floorball journey, playing as a team. So we wanted to give everything we have and leave nothing behind.”
RI captain, Zhen Ming (#9), said, “It was a very tough game, because we were leading in the first place and never thought they will come back so fast in the third period. But eventually we managed to keep our composure and win.”
On their entire season, Zhen Ming said, “We started off beating VJ, which was very unexpected. And eventually our performance started to droop. Then after losing to TJ in the last match of the group stage, we managed to beat MJ in the semi-final which was a very tough game. And now, here we are winning the championship.”
Scoring by Period
ACJC vs RI
First period: 0–2
Second period: 0–0 (0–2)
Third period: 2–1 (2–3)
Vignesa Pasupathy (#33) – 1 goal
Kumaresa Pasupathy (#34) – 1 goal
Zhang Zhen Ming (#9) – 1 goal
Nicholas Ho (#14) – 1 goal
Muhammad Amirul Afiq (#45) – 1 goal
Anglo-Chinese Junior College Roster
Wong Zong Yan (#1), Ewin Ng (#2), Joshua Tan (#3), Daryl Peng (#4), Nicholas Koh (#7), Cheng Wei Qiang (#8), Gerald Tay (#9), Issac Lee (#10), Sean Kwek (#11), Evan Heng (#13), Koh Boon Yang (#17), Seow Je Min (#18), Luke Izumi Lau (#21), Samuel Liu (#22), Ter Yan Chong (#23), Vignesa Pasupathy (#33), Kumaresa Pasupathy (#34), Jared Steve (#50), Ivan Ho (#70), Benjamin Kristano (#97)
Raffles Institution Roster
Sean Jou (#1), Wee Zhi Jie (#2), Ng Jun Jie (#3), Sakthi Vel S/O Raman (#4), Ng Si Hong (#5), Andrew Joshua Koh (#7), Ryan Sim (#8), Zhang Zhen Ming (#9), Tay Yang (#10), Derrick Tang (#11), Ryan Teo (#12), Shaun Pua (#13), Nicholas Ho (#14), Jarod Ng (#16), Xu Jia Feng (#18), Dominic Lim (#20), Adriel Nee Hoong Yi (#21), Darren Low (#23), Kenny Goh (#27), Muhammad Amirul Afiq (#45), Lim Jingzhou (#50)
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