Philippines defeats Thailand to win first ever SEA Games ice hockey gold

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines avoided a mid-game collapse to win the inaugural ice hockey gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games over Thailand, 5-4, on Thursday, August 24 at Empire City Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Playing without team captain John Steven Fuglister, who was suspended for this match due to rough play, the Philippine team took advantage of early power play opportunities, scoring a goal from Benjamin Imperial, followed by two more from Paul Gabriel Sanchez inside the first 14 minutes.

Another power play situation in the second period led to another goal, 4-0 in the 25th minute. And then the Thais came back. On the ensuing possession, Chanchieo Supadilokluk scored Thailand's first goal, followed by two more from Papan Thanakroekkiat before the period ended.

The Philippine team returned to its aggressive ways in the third period, dominating the puck again and scoring the 5-3 goal at the 51-minute mark by Jose Inigo Anton Cadiz, which provided enough of a margin to survive one more goal from Thailand, as they once again pulled to within striking distance in the 56th minute thanks to a Masato Kitayama goal.

First Period

Second Period

Third Period

Both Thailand and the Philippines entered the gold medal match unbeaten at 3-0, with their vastly superior squads leading to lopsided goal differences in the round robin tournament, which was joined by Malaysia, the bronze medalists, plus Indonesia and Singapore.

Ice hockey was one of 4 new sports added to the 2017 SEA Games, along with figure skating, speed skating and cricket. – Rappler.com

Editor's note: John Steven Fuglister was suspended for rough play during the Philippines' game against Malaysia, not for fighting.