Sukhumvit snaps losing streak: AWARE solidifies hold on first

The final set of games for the 2017 calendar year in the Sport Corner Siam Hockey League (SHL) 2017-2018 season took place on Thursday December 21st. The opening game saw the Sukhumvit Spitfires snap a four-game game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over Hertz, while AWARE edged Expedia 4-3 in a thrilling back-and-forth contest in the second match.

The Spitfires were missing seven of their regular players due to illness or travel commitments, but they did have Tewin “Thor” Chartsuwan in their line-up as a sub. Thor has been in the line-up for all four Sukhumvit victories this year, so it is fair to say he’s earned the moniker “the difference maker”. Michael White, had a huge game for Sukhumvit scoring two goals, roaring all over the ice and earning Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game honours. White, who missed the first six games of the season, has done a nice job of fitting in and finding his groove in the last two games.

Andy Brine had a great game for Hertz in a losing cause.

Sukhumvit jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Ernesto Bauer and captain Brad Wilson, but Andy Brine put on quite a one-man show scoring two goals within 45 seconds to even the score late in the second period. Brine, who moved between defense and forward all game, was a force to be reckoned throughout the match.

Richie Jiaravanon scored the nicest goal of the night, displaying Gretzky-like stickhandling ability in front of the Hertz net, before roofing home the game winner past Hertz keeper Lance Parker early in the third period. Michael White sealed the victory for Sukhumvit scoring two slick goals on Parker late in the third period.
Dream Ungkulpattanasuk stopped 32 of the 34 shots sent his way in the Sukhumvit net, earning his fourth victory of the season while Lance Parker turned aside 21 of the 26 pucks fired at him in the Hertz net.

The AWARE-Expedia match was the closest-fought match this season and until the final seconds, could have gone either way. AWARE jumped out to a 1-0 first-period lead on a goal by Jouni Heinonen. In the second stanza, goals by Expedia’s captain Mike Wilson and star defenseman Juhani Ijas saw Expedia take a 2-1 going into the second intermission.

Midway through the third period, however, AWARE’s Phu Suwachirat, the youngest player in the league, went coast-to-coast and beat Yves Gaboriault on the short side to tie the game at 2-2. Three minutes later, AWARE went ahead when David Boere scored after AWARE captain Patrik Lundback made a brilliant play to keep the puck in the Expedia zone.

Expedia captain Mike Wilson & AWARE’s Darius Konotopetz do battle during their match.

With five minutes left in the game, Expedia’s Jari Eerikainen made a great rush down the right-hand side of the boards dropping the puck to Mike Wilson in front of the net who sent the puck past a sprawling Juiz Lertitsiri to tie the score at 3 with five minutes remaining. But two minutes later, Darius Konotopetz became the hero of the night, potting the game winner on an assist from Lundback.

Lundback, with two assists on the night, won the Rolling Stone Pizza PoG honour for his dominant play at both ends of the ice.

Juiz stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced in the AWARE net while Yves turned aside 19 of the 23 pucks fired his way guarding the Expedia cage. It was Juiz’ second straight win for AWARE, and he has made a number of outstanding saves during that stretch.

Going into the holiday break AWARE sits atop the SHL table with a 6-2 record and 12 points: Expedia and Sukhumvit are tied with eight points each and identical 4-4 records, while Hertz is in last spot with a 2-6 record and four points.

Expedia has the top three spots in the scoring table as Thai national team coach Juhani Ijas leads the SHL scoring table with 11 points; teammate Jordan Ashton is in second spot with 10 points (all goals); and Expedia captain Mike Wilson is in third with eight points. Substitute Tewin “Thor” Chartsuwan and Sukhumvit’s Ernesto Bauer sit tied in fourth spot with eight points each.

The season resumes Thursday January 11th 2018 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.