SHL opening night sees both games end in shoot-out victories
The Siam Hockey League (SHL) launched its initial season on Sunday night and the games couldn’t have been any closer with Titanium/Sport Corner edging Aware 3-2 for a shoot-out win in the first game and the Sukhumvit Spitfires squeaking by Hooters Nana 6-5 for another shootout victory in the evening’s second contest.
Fittingly, SHL President, and Titanium/Sport Corner winger John Schachnovsky, scored the first goal in SHL history as he outraced the Aware defense and fired a low shot past Aware netminder Yves Gaboriault. On the next shift, Aware tied the game as Brandon Vick found the opening between Titanium/Sport Corner goalie Gabor Toth’s pads. The second period was uneventful until Aware rearguard Papan “Yean” Thanakroekkiat made a break past the Titanium/Sport Corner defense, received a great pass from the Slovakian Ambassador to Thailand Stanislav Opiela and tucked the puck past Toth. The game stayed 2-1 until late in the third period when Titanium/Sport Corner young gun Araya “Ith” Vatanapanyakul popped in a rebound to knot the score at 2.
With the game tied after regulation time, it went to a 3-man shootout, after which if it was still tied, the game would be registered as a draw. But in the shootout, Schachnovsky and Captain Zak Garofolo scored for Titanium/Sport Corner and Yean scored for Aware. Toth was able to stop Tewin “Thor” Chartsuwan and Vick to secure the shootout win for Titanium/Sport Corner, and was awarded the Rolling Stone Pizza game MVP for his efforts. Both Gabor and Aware keeper Yves Gaboriault made 19 saves on the night.
In the second game, Hooters was up 4-2, and then 5-4 with less than a minute to go when Adrian Meyers tied the game for the Spitfires with a blazing shot from the point sending it into a shoot-out. Then Geoff McIntyre went to work exhibiting some Mitch Marner razzle-dazzle moves and tucking the past by Hooters netminder Pattarapol “Dream” Ungkulpattanasuk to secure the win for Sukhumvit as no one else scored in the shoot-out session. Dream stopped Adrian Myers & Dave McBurney while Spitfires’ goalie Jason Cotsmire foiled Michael White, Jantaphong (Moo) Tengsakul and Stephen Sproule to preserve the win.
McIntyre, who had taken a penalty late in the game that the Spitfires killed off, redeemed himself with the game-winning goal and by adding another goal and an assist early on tied the Hooters’ Tengsakul for the early lead in the SHL scoring race. Adrian Meyers was awarded the Rolling Stone Pizza MVP for excellence in both the offensive and defensive zones of the game. Cotsmire had 12 saves for Sukhumvit while Dream stopped 16 shots for Hooters.
The SHL committee worked long and hard to try and come up with four equal teams and so far, so good. As SHL President John Schachnovsky said, “It was a night of firsts at The Rink at Central Rama IX. The puck dropped on the new SHL, and if the first night of action is any indication, the league will be full of close and exciting hockey games.”