Ranchi Rays were crowned champions of the third Hockey India League at the National Stadium on Sunday. However, they had to wait till the shootout to celebrate the victory.
The final reached its climax as the teams were level 2-2 after regulation time. The focus was on the goalkeepers, and Ranchi’s Lovell Tyler turned out to be the hero as he blocked Punjab Warriors’ Robert Hammond.
While the Warriors converted two of the five chances, Ranchi were on target thrice, which included a penalty stroke that skipper Ashley Jackson converted.
The opening two quarters turned out to be barren as none of the teams could breach the defence and open the scoring. The third quarter saw swift moves from both sides. The Warriors had the edge and even surged ahead in the 39th minute through Kieran Govers.
Ranchi were quick to level scores through Stanli Minz in the 42nd minute.
With time ticking away, the contest entered the fourth quarter. The Warriors again took the lead in the 56th minute, but their joy was short-lived as Ranchi scored off a swift counter attack.
With three minutes left, and the Warriors in control, it seemed they would take home the trophy. But Ranchi stood firm as the Warriors squandered two penalty corners. They paid the price and wilted under pressure in the shootout.
Earlier, defending champions Delhi Waveriders salvaged some pride by winning the third spot, defeating Uttar Pradesh Wizards 2-1.