Congratulations An-Noor and Ansar, JYHL 2011 Champions!
The final is over and the awards have been handed out. The 2011 edition of the Jaffari Youth Hockey League has come to and end, and what a season it has been. It all came to a climax on Friday, as Mujahideen and An-Noor battled for the Junior championship, while Masumeen and Ansar rekindled their historic rivalry in an epic quest for the Senior championship.
The Junior game began at around 8.00 PM, and both teams had definitely come out in full force, ready to fight for the crown. An-Noor took an early lead via Kaamil Khalfan, before Zain Ali Esmail tied it up for Mujahideen. The game continued to swing back and forth, with An-Noor again reclaiming the lead only to see Mujahideen equalize just as quickly. With the score 2-2 in the second period, An-Noor finally thought they had broken out, with Kaamil completing his hat-trick and Hassan Abbas Kara adding a goal to give their team a 4-2 lead. Mujahideen, however, were not ready to give up just yet, as they roared back with 2 quick goals to bring the game back to a deadlock heading into the third period. An-Noor captain and first round pick Aamir Ali Panju then took over the game for his team, scoring his first after a solid individual effort to give An-Noor a 5-4 lead, and then scored another 2 goals after Mujahideen had again tied the game at 5-5. The clock ticked down with An-Noor leading 7-5, and while Mujahideen managed to pull one goal back with their net empty and half a minute remaining, they were unable to tie the game for a fifth time, and An-Noor walked off the field as 7-6 victors and playoff champions, after an incredible final in which both teams exhibited unparalleled heart, determination, and skill.
The Junior awards ceremony followed, with An-Noor celebrating their achievement as both Season and Playoff champions. Kaamil Khalfan took home the Playoff MVP award, while Zain Ali Esmail was unanimously selected as the Season MVP. His younger brother and Mujahideen teammate Imran Esmail was voted Top Forward, while fellow teammate Kazim Jessa won the Top Defender prize. An-Noor goalie Rahman Hemani, who narrowly missed out on Playoff MVP after a string of incredible performances to backstop his team to the championship, was deservedly chosen as the Top Goalie, while Mujahideen coach Hussein Mohamedali was named Coach of the Year. Al-Muflihoon and Ikhwan then got in on the act, with al-Muflihoon duo Zain Ali Khalfan and Aadil Jaffer winning the Top Rookie and Most Sportsmanlike awards, respectively, with Ikhwan stalwart Rishaad Bharwani winning Most Improved and teammate Mustapha Khamissa being named Most Exemplary Player for his continued service and volunteering efforts with the league.
The Senior game then got underway as the clock approached 9 PM, but this game was not the seesaw battle that spectators had witnessed in the Junior final. Mohamed Mohamedali scored 2 quick goals to spot Ansar to an early 2-0 lead, while Mousa Azouz added a third before the first period ended. Shaneali Kara pulled one back for Masumeen early in the second, before Muhammad Haji responded to re-establish Ansar's 3-goal cushion. Muhammad Kara scored Ansar's fifth, adding to his 4 assists on the other goals, to give Ansar was seemed like an insurmountable 4-goal lead. The third period was a different story, however, with Mustafa Kamani and Sajjad Akbar scoring quickly to cut Ansar's lead to only 2 goals, with Sajjad adding another later in the period to make it a 1-goal game. The last few minutes of the game saw continued pressure from Masumeen, with only a couple lucky bounces and some brilliant goaltending from Afzal Panju stopping the game from being all tied up. The final buzzer sounded with Ansar holding on to their 5-4 lead, and thus finally winning the Senior championship after 2 straight years of losing in the final.
Muhammad Kara was named Playoff MVP after his five-point night, with Al-Wahed superstar Haider Akbar taking home the Season MVP award after leading his team to the league championship. Masumeen forward Mustafa Kamani was voted Top Forward, Al-Wahed captain Tahir Jaffer was Top Defender, while teammate Karrar Hussain was Top Goalie on the back of his 3 shutouts over the course of the season. Afzal Panju was selected Top Rookie, while Muhammad Abbas Amarshi won the Most Sportsmanlike Award. That brought an end to the JYHL 2011 campaign, and as the players celebrated and enjoyed a delicious dinner from Toppings, thoughts had already turned to next March, when the teams will begin anew in their quest to win the JYHL Championship.