Spitfires grounded while SC-Titanium lives to fight another day
Just when it looked like the Sukhumvit Spitfires were going to ride Donny Kerfoot’s Superman cape into the SHL final, Hooters Nana came along and stepped on Donny’s cape, sending the Spitfires crashing to earth in a big way. Hooters swept both games from the Spitfires in their best of three semi-final series setting up a championship date with either SC-Titanium or AWARE, who are now locked at one game each, after SC’s nail-biting 2-1 triumph last Sunday night.
Hooters Nana jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as defenseman Gary Cosby snuck in from the point to bury a nice set-up from Michael White, with Jantaphong “Moo” Tengsakul also assisting on the play. Then, the Spitfires’ Scott Murray fed Donny Kerfoot who went coast-to-coast to tie the game and that’s how it stood after the first period. Early in the second, Hooters went back in front with MWhite putting in a goal from substitute Rob Taylor and Krit “Top” Rutthapong. But Sukhumvit stormed right back with Jogsports workmates Scott Whitcomb and Adrian Meyers combining on a goal with Whitty pulling the trigger. Five minutes later substitute Richie Jiaravanon staked Sukhumvit to a 3-2 lead with Scott Whitcomb assisting and that’s the way the second period ended.
In the third, the house came tumbling down for Sukhumvit as Hooters scored three unanswered goals to clinch the game and the period. Moo scored two of them, including an empty-netter, with his first goal being set up by Michael White. The winning goal was scored by substitute Mike Nightingale and set up by Hooters star Andy Brine, who missed the first playoff contest.
The Spitfires’ Lance Parker stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced (with one empty-netter) while Hooters’ Pattarapol “Dream” Ungkulpattanasuk turned back 24 of the 27 pucks sent his way. Dream was definitely the difference maker; drafted as the team’s starting goalie, he missed a majority of the games with national team commitments—with Hooters using four other goalies in his absence—but when he played, Hooters Nana skated with much more confidence and he made a number of key saves throughout the contest.
It was a better pill for Sukhumvit to swallow as they finished first overall in the regular season, setting a league record of seven straight wins in the process. They were without Dave McBurney, Ernesto Bauer, Simon Rindlisbacher, David Boere and Krittipad “Peam” Jaratwuttipreeda and the decision to start Kerfoot at center left many scratching their head. But at the end of the day, the team just relied too much on one player—Kerfoot. Hooters Nana was also missing key players including captain Justin St. Denis, David Blomquist, Jordan Newman, Paul Stoddart, Sebastien Ranger and Teerapol “La” Chamnanrattanakul.
In the second semi-final, Jouni Heinonen, assisted by John Schachnovsky, and Mike Wilson, assisted by Heinonen, staked SC-Titanium to 2-0 lead, but early in the third period Papan “Yean” Thanakroekkiat owner of the hardest shot in the league—picked the corner on Gabor Toth with assists going to Chanokchon “Tan” Limpinphet and Tewin “Thor” Chartsuwan. This made the remainder of the third interesting as AWARE buzzed the Titanium net looking for the equalizer, but Gabor Toth held the fort.
SC-Titanium’s Gabor stopped 34 of the 35 shots he faced, while Yves Gaboriault, returning from injury, stopped 16 of the 18 pucks fired his way in the AWARE net. AWARE was missing key forwards Corry Day and Brandon Vick on the night, while SC-Titanium was missing Zak Garofolo, Joe Lamantia and Arkady Goncharov.
The SHL scorer’s table looked familiar after two playoff games with SHL President & SC-Titanium’s John Schachnovsky still in the lead with 19 goals and 13 assists, followed by lineate & SC-Titanium captain Mike Wilson, who sits second with 13 goals and 16assists. AWARE’s Brandon Vick (absent for the playoffs so far) is third with 14 goals & 12 assists, while Spitfires’ Donny Kerfoot is in fourth spot with 15 goals and 8 assists and AWARE’s captain Patrik Lundback rounds out the top five with 4 goals and 17 assists.
The final in the best of three semi-final AWARE-SC-Titanium playoff series is set for Thursday April 20th at 8:30pm at “the Rink”, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama 9, with the winner moving on to play Hooters Nana for the inaugural SHL title.