Week 14 SHL action saw two incredibly close games yet again as in game one the Sukhumvit Spitfires rode their win streak to seven games, knocking Sport Corner Titanium out of first place with a 4-2 victory while AWARE defeated Hooters Nana 3-2 in a shootout in game two.
The opening game did not disappoint as the battle of the SHL’s two top teams, saw intense action at both ends of the ice. Sukhumvit jumped into a 3-0 lead on goals by Scott Whitcomb, Donny Kerfoot and Scott Murray before SC-Titanium stormed back with John Schachnovsky scoring a power-play goal and Zak Garofolo roofing a beautiful wrist shot past a stunned Lance Parker. Alasdair Fawcett used his fleeing speed to put Sukhumvit back in front to stay with just over six minutes left in the game.
When the final buzzer sounded, the scorecard saw SC Titanium’s Gabor Toth stopping 23 of the 27 pucks he faced while the Spitfires’ Lance Parker stopped 25 of the 27 shots fired their way, increasing his win streak to seven straight between the twines.
With a goal and two assists, Kerfoot had another incredible game for Sukhumvit. Unfortunately, he is headed back to Canada at the end of April, so we will only see this rare talent in the SHL for a few more weeks. The Spitfires Adrian Meyers also had a strong game and was named the Rolling Stone Pizza Player of the Game. No one transitions from the defensive to the offensive zone better than Adrian does.
Game two left many people shaking their heads. Early in the game, Hooters Nana’s Michael White streaked though centre ice blasting one off the crossbar, that many thought went in. Brandon Vick then went the other way and scored— or at least he thought he did—and so did his teammates, as they milled around him celebrating the goal. Problem was the referees didn’t see the puck go in the net, so play resumed with Hooters Nana missing a number of glorious opportunities before AWARE finally realized they hadn’t indeed scored. This might have been karma as earlier Hooters Nana sharpshooter Andy Brine had scored from a face-off in the AWARE zone. But the face-off should never have taken place in the defensive zone as it was Hooters Nana’s White who had rung the puck off the crossbar, so the face-off should have come outside the zone. The result was many fans were clamoring for net cams. The game ended tied at 2 in regulation time with Marcel Bouwens and Brandon Vick scoring for AWARE and Andy Brine and Sebastien Ranger lighting the lamp for Hooters Nana.
Brandon Vick took AWARE’s first shoot-out opportunity and missed; Michael White of Hooters Nana followed suit, missing as well. Next up, Papan “Yean” Thanakroekkit sauntered in on Pattarapol “Dream” Ungkulpattanasuk and with a dazzling array of moves slide it by Dream. Fellow Thai national Jantaphong “Moo” Tengsakul got that one back for Hooters Nan before Chanokchon “Tan” Limpinphet picked Dream’s top right-hand corner with an outstanding wrist shot. Hideki Nagayama had the opportunity to extend the shoot-out to one more round and he did indeed deke out Pirapong “Juiz” Lertitsiri but lost the puck after going around him and AWARE claimed the victory.
Juiz played well in the AWARE net, stopping 24 of the 26 shots fired his way. Dream made his long-awaited return to the Hooters Nana net and made several brilliant saves, stopping 38 of the 40 shots he faced. Juiz, ironically, had played net for Hooters Nana the previous two weeks, substituting for Dream.
League-leading scorer John Schachnovsky picked up a goal to increase his point total to 27 (16 goals and 11 assists). Donny Kerfoot jumped into a second-place tie with Brandon Vick. Both players have 21 points, but Donny has one more goal. Mike Wilson (10 goals & 10 assists) is in fourth spot with 20 points while Andy Brine rounds out the top five scorers with 5 goals and 13 assists.
For the first time since the beginning of the season, SC-Titanium is not atop the SHL standings. They sit in second spot with sixteen points and an 9-5 record for 18 points. The new occupants of the penthouse are the Sukhumvit Spitfires, whose one overtime loss gives them a 9-5-1 record with 19 points, one more than SC-Titanium. AWARE has sixteen points and sits in third place with a 6-8-4 record and Hooters Nana sits in last place with ten points and a 4-9-2 record (the third number in sequence stands for overtime losses, where a point is gained by the losing team).
With the Challenge Cup in town SHL action returns on March 16th with a pair of rare Thursday night games at “the Rink”, Central Grand Rama 9, as the Sukhumvit Spitfires face off against AWARE at 8:30 and SC-Titanium takes on Hooters Nana at 9:30pm.
For more information on the SHL check out Dom Dumais great podcasts and interviews with SHL players.