Expedia & Suhkumvit earn opening-night victories

The Sport Corner Siam Hockey League (SHL) launched its second season on Sunday night and if the fast-paced action was any indication of what’s to come, we are in for a real treat this year as all four teams came flying out of the gate. The opening contest saw the defending champions, Expedia (formerly Sport Corner Titanium) defeat Hertz (formerly Hooters Nana) 7-4 in a rematch of last year’s final, while the Sukhumvit Spitfires defeated Aware 5-2 in the second match of the evening.

The Thai Minister of Tourism and Sport Kobkarn Wattanarangkul graciously attended the game and dropped the puck for the ceremonial face-off between Expedia’s Juhani Ijas and Hertz’s Jantaphong “Moo” Tengsakul.  

Expedia’s Pratch Siridhara chases Hertz’s Bill Bredesen.

In the first match, Ijas, the coach of the Thai national team, lead the way with three goals and an assist. Super-sub Ichiro Hara added a goal and two assists and drew a penalty on Hertz’ Sebastien Ranger late in the game. Jordan Ashton, Rob Taylor and Anun “Kak” Kullugin added singles for Expedia, who never trailed in the game. Jantaphong “Moo” Tengsakul replied for Hertz scoring twice with Bill Bredesen and rookie Mike Triacca adding single tallies. Stephen Sproule and Ralf Dittmer each had two assists each for Hertz in a losing cause. Dittmer, also had the “SHL save of the night” when he made a diving save to prevent a goal, after keeper Lance Parker was caught straying from the net.    

The Rolling Stone Pizza MVP in game one went to Juhani {interview}for his four-point performance. Much like last year’s SHL’s MVP Donny Kerfoot, he’s a “gamebreaker” and it will be tough for any squad to neutralize him. Expedia’s win was all the more impressive because they were missing their captain Mike Wilson, star defenseman Remo Nyffenegger and young Thai star Phandaj “Win” Khukakaew—and last year’s leading scorer John Schachnovsky was held off the scoresheet as well. Murmurs of “juggernaut” could quietly be heard in the hallowed halls of the Rama IX rink.  Hertz’ Lance Parker made 16 saves on the 23 shots he faced while Expedia’s keeper Yves Gaboriault stopped 23 of the 27 shots he faced on the night.     

Adrian Meyers of Sukhumvit lets go with a slapshot.

Thai National team captain Tewin “Thor” Chartsuwan, subbing for Michael White, made a big impact in game two. Usually noted for his offensive prowess, Thor made a number of stellar defensive plays, assisted on two goals and in the dying minutes cliched the win for Sukhumvit with a rink-long empty-net goal.  Harrison Oztemel with a pair, Ernesto Bauer and Richie Jarvinen also scored for Sukhumvit with Patrik Lundback and Yean Thanakroekkiat each scoring for AWARE, with AWARE actually taking the early lead in the game on Lundback’s goal before Sukhumvit stormed back with three unanswered tallies, eventually winning 5-2.     

Pattarapol “Dream” Ungkulpattanasuk was awarded the Rolling Stone Pizza MVP {interview} in game two for his performance in the net stopping 24 of the 26 pucks fired his away, while his counterpart AWARE’s Gabor Toth turned aside 20 of the 25 pucks fired at him.     

The season continues Thursday November 16th with the Spitfires playing Hertz at 8:30pm and Aware doing battle against Expedia at 9:30pm. Admission is free and all games take place at the Rink, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX (Photography by Tadamasa Nagayma)

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