Reporting by Dom Dumais & Christian Oloffson
The Sukhumvit Spitfires and AWARE continued to put up “W’s” on the score sheet in SHL action on Thursday January 11th. In the opening contest, Sukhumvit struck first in its match with Expedia when at 9:15 of the first period some tic-tac-toe passing saw Krittapad “Peam” Jaratwuttipreeda finish off a nice three-way passing play from Michael White and Adrian Meyers. Things then got a little physical near the end of the period when Expedia’s Chayutapon “First” Kulrat was called for body checking.
Michael White scored his first goal of the night early in the second period when he took a pass from Chanokchon “Tan” Limpinphet. Just five minutes after his goal, White was called for hooking when Yutaka Kariya took a stretch pass and White prevented him from getting a breakaway by hooking him to slow him down. Sukhumvit managed to kill that penalty, but Chaval “Richie” Jiaravanon was then called for bodychecking 11 minutes into the period, which led to Juhani Ijas’ power play goal, assisted by John Schachnovsky and Kariya.
Just shy of a minute into the third period, Rob Taylor collided with Pattarapol “Dream” Ungkulpattanasuk causing both men to go crashing to the ice, resulting in Taylor getting a goaltender interference penalty. But Expedia was able to kill the penalty and keep the game within one.
With less than four minutes left in the game, Jiaravanon put on a performance that would have earned him lots of YouTube views if there was video footage available. He picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and deked his way around a couple of Expedia players before making an incredible move around defenseman Pratch Siridhara on the blue line. It was almost like the game decelerated and everyone was moving in slow motion. In-all-alone with the goalie, he made a couple of fancy moves and showed off his silky mitts before eventually tucking in the puck behind a sprawling James Cox in the Expedia net.
With a minute-and-a-half left in the game, Expedia pulled their goaltender in hopes of bringing the score within one, but with just two seconds left in the game, White took a pass from Tewin “Thor” Charsuwan and slid the puck into the empty net to seal the game. The Spitfires earned a solid 4-1 win, though Expedia did outshoot Sukhumvit 24-22. Michael White earned his second straight Rolling Stone Pizza Player of the game honours for his three-point effort (two goals and an assist).
In the second game of the evening, HERTZ was looking to turn their season around and start their climb in the standings. But league-leading AWARE had other plans and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with goals from rookie sensation Phu Suwachirat and consistent point producer Devin Michael. It looked like it was going to be a long night for the HERTZ team. But that is when HERTZ leading scorer, Andy Brine, decided to take matters into his own hands. He skated swiftly up the ice and used the big frame of defenseman Yean Thanakroekkiat as a screen on a powerful blast from the neutral zone to get HERTZ back within one.
The momentum proved to be short-lived, however, as Devin Michael was not done yet and extended AWARE’s lead to 3-1 early in the third. Yean would also get his revenge on Andy when he went end-to-end, skating past Andy, and fired his patented laser wrist shot through the legs of goalie Lance Parker.
Phu would add his second goal of the game to earn the Rolling Stone Player of the Game award. In the dying seconds of the game, Carly Hill made history as the first ever female player to score in the SHL when she showed off some strong net-front-presence to round out the scoring. The final score was Aware 5 Hertz 2 with AWARE outshooting Hertz 31-25 on the night.
After nine weeks of action, AWARE sits atop the leader with a 7-3 record: Sukhumvit is second with a 5-4 mark; with Expedia in third at 4-5; and Hertz is in last spot with a 2-7 record.
Juhani Ijas sits atop the SHL scoring race with 6 goals and 6 assists; Jordan Ashton and Andy Brine are tied for second spot with 10 points apiece (Jordan on ten goals, and Andy with five goals and five assists). Tewin Chartsuwan and John Schachnovsky are tied for third with eight points each (John with four goals and four assists: Thor has three goals and five assists).
The season resumes Sunday January 14th with the Spitfires playing AWARE at 8:30pm and Hertz playing Expedia at 9:30pm. Admission is free and all games take place at the Rink, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX.
For more information on the SHL check out Dom Dumais great podcasts and interviews with SHL players.