Thursday, March 1, 2012
UniKL and Thunderbolts on collision course..
SSTMI Thunderbolts and UniKL Young Guns are heading towards a collision course in the Milo Cup Junior Hockey League for the third straight season, after they overcame gritty opponents on Wednesday.
Thunderbolts beat MBI Anderson 5-2, while UniKL Young Guns edged Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) 3-1 in the first leg, and look good to seal their final spots today.
However, UniKL are expected to travel a rocky path as their centre-half Aslam Hanafiah will sit out the match after picking up eight demerit points.
While BJSS will miss Shahiran Zali for the same reason.
“Aslam is our link between defense and attack, and his absence will be greatly felt. But having said that, there is only a slim chance of UniKL squandering a 2-goal lead, and we will go all out to avoid that,” said UniKL manager Amir Azhar.
In the first leg, BJSS took the lead but their game fell apart after that and UniKL walked away with a good cushion.
Both UniKL and Thunderbolts have been sharing the silverware since 2010, but have yet to land the double. In 2010, UniKL won the Overall while Thunderbolts the League title.
And in 2011, Thunderbolts won the Overall, while UniKL the League title. And this year, Thunderbolts took the League title, and the Milo Cup will be a toss between both of them again.
Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan was more focussed on preparing for the final, than the return leg.
“We did enough to virtually seal the final spot, and hope tro score a few more early goal to douse the Anderson fight-back.
“Having said that, the second leg semi-finals will also be treated as our final drill to prepare for our first JHL double,” said Wan Roslan.
That is no empty talk as the coach has two players fighting for the top-scorers award this season. Shahril Saabah has scored a total of 15 goals of which eight were off penalty corners and seven from field attempts.
And Wan Roslan can also rely upon Sufi Ismat, who has a total of 14, with 11 coming from field, and three from penalty corner attempts.
All four semi-finalists are from Division One, and it indicates that Division Two sides which made the quarter-finals, USM Juniors and Sapura, are way behind the front-runners.
TODAY -- Semi-finals, return leg: UniKL (3) v Bukit Jalil SS (1) (5pm), MBI Anderson (2) v SSTMI Thunderbolts (7.30pm) (5).
(First Leg scores in parenthesis, and matches at Pitch II of the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil).