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Montano saves the day for PH in shootout thriller over Taipei U20

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG--Carl Montano scored the game-winning penalty as the Philippines stopped Chinese Taipei's U20 team, 3-2 (2-1 pen), in a crucial Philippine Ice Hockey Tournament match-up at the SM Megamall Skating Rink on Thursday night.

The Filipino side, which will compete in the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in August, blew a 2-0 lead, but the assistant captain saved the day for the team as his beautifully executed shootout goal turned out to be the dagger.

Steven Fuglister drew first blood for the Philippines early into the second period before Montano doubled the lead later.

But Su Pei Wei drew one back for the Taiwanese side before Chang Han Yuan completed canceled out the Filipinos' goals to end the period.

Both teams tried to find the winner in the third period but to no avail.

In the shootout, Fuglister went first, and the skipper did not disappoint as he swung the puck inside the goalpost.

Chen Guan Ping equalized after beating GP Iseppi in the one-on-one.

Paul Sanchez tried to make it 2-for-2 for the Philippines, but the Taiwanese netminder saved the puck from going in. Luckily for the host, Lu Li Feng failed to capitalize on the penalty miss as he muffed his own one-on-one attempt.

Montano then did his winning moment as he switched directions before finding an opening at the top side of the goal for the strike.

"That goalie is so big. When I came up on him, I started right. I saw nothing. I started left. As soon as I got closer to the goalie, the only thing I can go is upstairs, so I had to outweigh him until he dropped. As soon as the goalie went down, he opened up the top and I took the puck upstairs," Montano described the play

Yang Cheng Yu had a chance to extend the shootout, but Iseppi stopped Yang from converting.

Following a down-the-wire 4-3 win against Seoul on Wednesday night, the Philippines swept its Group B assignments and will take on the losing side between Islanders and Singapore in a seeding game on Friday night. Both Islanders and Singapore are playing as of press time.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno