Ranchi Rays beat Jaypee Punjab Warriors in a thrilling final to win the 2015 Hockey India League
The Ranchi Rays beat Jaypee Punjab Warriors 2-2 (3-2 in the penalty shootout) to win the 2015 Hockey India League.
Cautious start by both teams
It was a rather sedate start to the game with both teams taking a cautionary note in the early stages of the first quarter. Ranchi Rays skipper Ashley Jackson was restricted by Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ defence from making deep forays into the D. Rob Hammond made some brilliant passes from the midfield, but none of them resulted in a goal thanks to Tyler Lovell doing a good job at the goal.
No team were able to make inroads into their opposition’s defence and the first half ended with 0 penalty corner opportunities for both sides. The Warriors upped the ante in the third quarter with Jake Whetton’ attempt at goal was thwarted by Birender Lakra near the goal. Mark Knowles went for a referral and video replays suggested a penalty corner for the Warriors. Sandeep Singh took the corner, but Lovell denied it with a brilliant save off his left glove.
The defence of both teams played their part to perfection
Kieran Govers scored the first goal for the Warriors as Lovell was beaten with ball passing through his legs to the goal. Rays were on the counterattack with Mandeep Singh on the attack within the penalty area of the Warriors. Mandeep claimed a penalty corner, but video referrals did not award one for the Rays. The Ranchi team got their wish couple of minutes later with Sandeep Singh’s backstick in the penalty area. Jackson took it, but Jaap Stockmann saved it off the first attempt, but Stanli Minz scores with a terrific rebound to level scores in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Rays get another penalty corner opportunity, but Stockmann denied Jackson yet again with a save off his right boot. Chris Ciriello converted a penalty corner chance with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter to give Warriors the 2-1 lead. The Rays replied in the same minute as Barry Middleton scored the equaliser with a brilliant hit.
Warriors earned another penalty corner after Govers asked for a referral. They couldn’t convert it. Middleton asked for another referral after a dangerous pass hit him on the left arm. Warriors failed to score again with Lovell saving it off his right foot.
Lovell was superb in the shootout
It was time for a penalty shootout as there was not much to separate the teams.
Orchard misses first shot for the Warriors. Jackson scores for the Rays to make it 1-0.
Chris Ciriello makes it 1-1 with a superb goal being calm under pressure. Birendra Lakra is denied by Stockmann. It is 1-1.
Dharamvir makes it look easy to score the second goal for the Warriors. Daniel Beale is cool as a cucumber to make it 2-2.
S.V Sunil misses as Lovell makes a diving save off the second attempt. Manpreet Singh’s attempt is thwarted by Stockmann, but Rays are awarded a penalty stroke. Jackson scores off the penalty stroke to make it 3-2.
Rob Hammond misses the fifth attempt to give Ranchi Rays the Hockey India League title.