Debutants Kalinga Lancers, have been improving with every match they played in the Hero Hockey India League and the Odisha outfit held second-placed Jaypee Punjab Warriors for a 3-3 draw in a hard-fought league match of the second edition of HHIL in Mohali.
Both the teams started cautiously as they seemed in no mood to give initial openings to the other. But in the end both the teams had to satisfy with 2 points each.
Kalinga Lancers stunned the home team and surged ahead in the 10th minute when the local boy Gagandeep Singh scored a field goal to the left of Jaypee Punjab Warriors goalkeeper Bharat Chetri after getting a feed from the right flank.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors, however, did not sit back and pressed hard in search of the equalizer and in the process earned two penalty corners in succession, the second of which was converted by Australian Christopher Ciriello in the 18th minute to level the scores.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors secured another penalty corner at the start of the second quarter but ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh’s try went wide.
Jake Whetton (22nd minute) scored from close range after Lancers custodian Harjot Singh saved the first attempt to help Warriors take the lead for the first time in the match.
Kalinga Lancers pumped in two field goals in the second and third quarter respectively to yet again stun the home team for the second time in the game.
First Mandeep Antil scored in the 26th minute with a field strike from top of the circle before Ryan Archibald (41st minute) struck to take a 3-2 lead.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors, however, dominated the proceedings and earned two more penalty corners in quick time but wasted both the opportunities.
Kalinga Lancers goalie Harjot Singh had a busy day in office as he stretched his left leg to deny Dharamvir Singh’s strong forehand shot minutes to keep his side’s lead intact.
But Simon Orchard saved the day for Jaypee Punjab Warriors and scored the all-important equalizer in the 50th minute with a beautiful field goal.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors garnered two points from the draw and consolidated their second position in the standings with 25 points from seven games, while Kalinga Lancers have moved to 10 points from seven outings.
YES Bank Garv Award winner – Gagandeep Singh, Kalinga Lancers
Man of the Match – Jake Whetton, Jaypee Punjab Warriors
Hero Goal of the Match Award – Mandeep Antil, Kalinga Lancers
Kalinga Lancers will next host Uttar Pradesh Wizards at Bhubaneswar on Thursday, while Jaypee Punjab Warriors will take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their next game here on Saturday.
Speaking on the performance by the team Barry Dancer Head Coach, said “It is good to be back in Chandigarh. It felt like coming home. The crowd has been really supportive. We deserved to win, though Kalinga Lancers put up a good fight.”
S V Sunil of Jaypee Punjab Warriors said “The team’s performance is getting better and better day by day, which is resulting in more victories. Before the semi-finals we have two more matches to go and we will give our best and try winning them.”
Speaking on today performance by the team Head Coach Terry Walsh, Kalinga Lancers said “The team played very well in first half. We missed two very good opportunities to score which I think gave this result. Though must say the boys are improving and today’s match was satisfactory.”