by Trina Cobbledick (KL’s senior ice hockey correspondent)

Hopes were dashed as the underdog Asian Tigers suffered a defeat this Saturday night against Jazura in the MIHL (Malaysian Ice Hockey League) gold medal game. Despite clearly having the better team name, the Tigers were at a disadvantage from the beginning. Their goalie had hurt himself playing golf, their best player got transferred to Edmonton and just moments before the game, they received a WhatsApp message that yet another player wouldn’t be able to come. “I was on my way but something big came up,” read his text.

Down to only seven skaters, the first period started off rocky with Jazura jumping to a 4-0 lead. It wasn’t looking good.But in the second period, the Tigers rose to the challenge. Their stand-in goalie made some unbelievable saves to shut out Jazura and theTigers pounced for two quick snipes. The scoring gap was narrowing. Would it be the next miracle on (Malaysian rapidly melting) ice?

Fans stopped mid-shopping frenzy to peer over the railings at the ensuing action. Riveted by the displays of athletic prowess, families ordered MacDonalds and children asked their parents “What’s this game, lah?”

“The energy was something else,” said center Shaun Humphries, “there must have been 10s of people in the stands.”

Humphries, who had a modified Gordie Howe hat trick of a goal, an assist and a penalty resulting in a black eye, noted he truly thought this would be the TSN turning point of the game.

Unfortunately, the third period did not bode well for the Tigers. Jazura clearly outplayed them making the final score 7-2.

When approached after the game in the mall lobby turned dressing room, disappointed team members conceded that they weren’t ready to think about next season yet.

“All we can do at this point is regroup, have a couple of beers and get home quickly where we can actually shower.”