• The Japan Times


After a one-day break, the Nippon Paper Cranes and Seibu Prince Rabbits return to the ice on Friday afternoon with different goals in mind.

The Cranes are one win away from capturing the Asia League Ice Hockey championship. The Rabbits, on the other hand, hope to force a Game 6.

The puck will drop at 2 p.m. for Game 5 in Kushiro, Hokkaido Prefecture, where the Cranes hold a 3-1 series lead.

Nippon Paper earned a 3-1 home victory over Seibu Prince in Game 4 on Wednesday night.

Yoshinori Iimura and Masatoshi Ito scored first-period goals at 1:57 and 19:29, respectively, to give the Cranes a 2-0 lead.

The Rabbits’ Joel Prpic cut the deficit to 2-1 late in the second period, but Darcy Takeshi Mitani increased the hosts’ margin to 3-1 on a power-play tally 1:55 into the third.

Kengo Ito had two assists for Nippon Paper.

If necessary, Games 6 and 7 would be played at DyDo Drinco Ice Arena in Tokyo on Sunday and Monday.

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