The sixth set of games in the Sport Corner Siam Hockey League (SHL) 2017-2018 season took place on Sunday December 3rd. The opening game saw AWARE thump Hertz 7-3, while the second match saw Expedia edge the Sukhumvit Spitfires 2-1in a thrilling closely-fought contest.
Both AWARE and Hertz were missing key players as AWARE played without captain Patrik Lundback, speedster Corry Day, star defenseman Yean Thanakroekkiat, as well as rugged forward Darius Konotopetz while Hertz was missing their captain Justin St. Denis, two of their best defensemen (Carly Hill, Peter Borjesson) plus veteran blueliner Ralf Dittmer.
But two of the best players ever to lace up skates for the Flying Farangs were on hand to substitute and they both lived up to their billing. Henrik Oloffson and Jurg Dolder played against each other with Henrik joining his brother Christian (the SHL’s driving force) on AWARE and Jurg suiting up for Hertz. Both players were first-liners on the famous Flying Farang Johnny Oduya led-team that won the Land of Smiles tourney back in 2011. And to top it off they were joined by Thai National team captain Tewin “Thor” Chartsuwan, their linemate on that famous squad, who substituted for AWARE.
AWARE’s Jouni Heinonen, with two goals and an assist, was the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game in a match that saw many momentum shifts. Devin Michael also had two goals for AWARE with David Boere, Ollie Moyse and Henrik Olofsson chipping in singles. Hertz scorers on the night were Moo Tengsakul, Alasdair Fawcett and Kim Lidberg with his second in two games.
AWARE’s Patrick Leduc stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced while Lance Parker turned back 26 of the 33 pucks fired his way. It was Leduc’s second win of the season as earlier he had substituted for Yves Gaboriault when Expedia defeated Hertz 11-1. Lance, who had been outstanding just a few nights earlier when Hertz defeated Sukhumvit 5-2 for their first win of the season, had a rough night but a few unfortunate bounces didn’t help. Hertz defenseman Champ Supadilokluk shot one off of Jouni Heinonen’s shinpad while trying to clear the puck out from behind his net.
Game two saw a match-up of brother and sister goaltenders as Sukhumvit’s 25-year-old regular goalie Dream Ungkulpattanasuk played against his 23-year-old younger sister Pop, who was substituting for Yves Gaboriault. Pop was the first woman to play in the SHL last year: this year being joined by Carly Hill.
Mike Wilson, Jari Eerikainen, Rob Taylor and Chayutapon (First) Kulrat were missing for Expedia on the night and they picked up substitutes Stephen Sproule and Ichiro Hara, the latter having skated for Expedia in their first two games of the season. Sukhumvit was missing Michael White and Richie Jiaravanon but did not reach out for any substitute players.
Jordan Ashton continued his torrid scoring streak for Expedia netting his tenth goal of the season in the first period on a power play from Juhani Ijas. In the second period, Ernesto Bauer scored Sukhumvit’s only goal, his second of the season, and seventh point of the season, to tie up the score. In the third, two of Expedia’s young Thai national players teamed up to score the winning goal with Win Khuhakaew feeding Chap Kovitaya for the deciding marker. Win played a crucial role in preserving the win when he tied up Spitfire defenceman Brad Wilson for nearly 30 seconds in the Sukhumvit end as the game clock wore down.
This was simply a hard-earned win for Expedia, who had to hold off a late flurry by Sukhumvit when the Spitfires pulled their goalie for an extra attacker in the closing seconds.
Pop won the Rolling Stone Pizza PoG in the game, letting in one less goal than her brother: they both faced 23 shots on the night. Worried she wasn’t going to make the game on time, a back-up goalie was on call, but she did make it and played superbly. It would be unfair to say she outplayed her brother, but on this night, she played just as well.
A big shout-out to Dream and Pop’s father, Narumit: he arrived dragging both his kids’ sets of gear showing the same paternal affection and care that has made him one of the best hockey parents in Thailand. He has always been there to support both his children since they began their goaltending careers a decade ago. Cheerful and friendly, he’s a great role model for any prospective hockey mom or dad.
The season resumes Thursday December 14th with Hertz playing Expedia at 8:30pm and the Spitfires playing AWARE at 9:30. Admission is free and all games take place at the Rink, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX (Photography by Tadamasa Nagayama).
For more information on the SHL check out Dom Dumais great podcasts and interviews with SHL players.