U-20 ice hockey team enter semi-final

YUGESH KANNAN

The Singapore men's Under-20 ice hockey team have made a confident start in their maiden appearance at the U-20 Asia and Oceania Championship in Bangkok. They have entered the semi-final.

On Wednesday, Singapore beat Malaysia 2-1 in the quarter-final.

The match went into overtime but Singapore came out on top in a nail-biting showdown.

Singapore will play United Arab Emirates in the semi-final today (9.30pm Singapore time).

The Republic started their campaign along with Hong Kong, India and Indonesia in Group B.

They won their opening two matches convincingly to qualify for the knockout rounds.

Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and United Arab Emirates form Group A.

In their opening game on June 25, Singapore beat Indonesia 5-1.

They followed that up with a 10-1 thumping of India on June 26.

Muthukumar Karthikeyan, 16, the youngest member of the team, assisted with two goals.

Singapore lost to Hong Kong 4-7 in their final Group B game on Tuesday, but managed to qualify for the quarter-finals following their two wins.

Muthukumar, who took up ice hockey at age nine after falling in love with the sport, said he was proud and ecstatic to get the chance to represent Singapore at such a young age.

The Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student, who plays on the left and right wings and wears the No. 94 jersey, said: "I have been able to support my teammates when they go on the offensive and cover their positions. As a team, we manged to work on our structure and communication, which are crucial for the next games.

"Despite our loss to Hong Kong, we are keeping our heads up and putting in our full effort for the semi-final. We will continue to do our best."

The U-20 Asia and Oceania Championship, organised by the International Ice Hockey Federation, was originally scheduled to be held in February 2020 as the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia.

The renamed tournament will end in Bangkok on July 2.

rkyugesh@sph.com.sg

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