It couldn’t have been more fitting that both final games of the SHL regular season were decided by a goal. Going into the final weekend, either the Sukhumvit Spitfires or Sport Corner-Titanium could have finished first overall. But at the end of the evening, it was Sukhumvit, based on Donny Kerfoot’s game-winning shootout goal that clinched the top spot.
In game one, Hooters Nana jumped out to an early 4-0 lead as Jantaphong “Moo” Tengsakul scored a natural hat-trick (all assisted by Michael White) and David Blomquist buried a top right-hand corner wrist shot, before Sukhumvit replied with six unanswered goals, as Simon Rindlisbacher, Adrian Meyers and Garrett Howden scored singles for Sukhumvit, with Harrison Oztemel ten replicating Moo’s feat with his own natural hat trick.
Then just as it looked like the Spitfires were going to win in regulation time, Hooters Nana rallied with two late goals by Masato Kitiyama and Sebastien Ranger sending the game into 3-on-3 overtime for four minutes. Still tied after OT, the teams went into a sudden-death shootout with Lance Parker stonewalling Jantaphong “Moo” Tengsakul on Hooters first attempt; then the magician Donny Kerfoot went to work, skating in on Pattarapol “Dream” Ungkulpattanasuk, mesmerizing him with a couple dekes, before shelving it, leaving Dream to wonder what happened.
In game two, John Schachnovsky gave SC-Titanium the early 1-0 lead, but AWARE’s Bill Bredesen tied it up 45 seconds later. Then with 1:40 left in the first period, Brandon Vick scored to put AWARE ahead, only to have SC-Titanium’s Jouni Heinonen tie it up with 30 seconds left in the period. Mike Wilson’s two goals early in the second stanza staked SC-Titanium to a 4-2 lead before AWARE tied at 4 on late-period goals by Darren Boodle and Tewin “Thor” Chartsuwan ending the second period.
Teerasak “Ang” Rattanachot put SC-Titanium up 5-4 early in the third before AWARE’s Bill Bredesen, with his second of the night, tied it up yet again in this hectic see-saw battle. Jouni Heinonen ended up netting the final and deciding goal – his second of the net – with ten minutes left on the clock. On a power play, and with their goalie pulled, AWARE stormed the SC-Titanium net in the final seconds, but couldn’t get the tying goal past Gabor Toth.
When the final buzzer sounded, SC-Titanium’s Gabor Toth stopped 31 of the 36 shots fired at him, while Pirapong “Juiz” Lertitsiri, subbing for the still-injured Yves Gaboriault, stopped 23 of the 29 pucks fired his way in the AWARE net.
SHL President & SC-Titanium’s John Schachnovsky rode is hot streak to the end as he finished as the regular season’s league’s leading scorer (19 goals and 12 assists); teammate & SC-Titanium captain Mike Wilson was second with 12 goals and 15 assists; AWARE’s Brandon Vick was third with 14 goals & 12 assists; Donny Kerfoot claimed fourth spot with 14 goals and 8 assists; and Zak Garofolo rounded out the top five scorers with 7 goals and 12 assists. All three members of the famed MSG made the top five scorer’s table – quite an accomplishment.
Sukhumvit Spitfires ended up with a 10-6-1 record and 21 points edging SC-Titanium (10-6) by one point to gain top spot overall—Sukhumvit’s point gained in its one overtime loss providing the margin of victory. AWARE finished third with a 7-9-4 record for 18 points and Hooters Nana came last with thirteen points and a 5-9-3 record (the third number in sequence stands for overtime losses, where a point is gained by the losing team).
The best of three semi-final playoff series start on Thursday April 6th with the Sukhumvit Spitfires facing off against Hooters Nana at 8:30 and SC-Titanium taking on AWARE at 9:30pm at “the Rink”, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama 9.
For more information on the SHL check out Dom Dumais great podcasts and interviews with SHL players.