Sunday January 14th saw the Sport Corner Siam Hockey League turn into the second part of its season with the tenth set of games being played. The opening contest saw AWARE whitewash the Sukhumvit Spitfires 9-1, while Hertz defeated Expedia 5-2 in the match of the night.
AWARE is looking like the team to beat as we head towards the SHL championship on March 17th. Despite using three different goaltenders the team has gelled like no other. While other squads have been dogged by injuries or absences the Patrik Lundback-led AWARE squad just seems to find ways to win. And speedster Corry Day continues to play as if he’s continually dipping into the fountain of youth. Nearing 50, Corry skates like a player in his early twenties, using his speed to score and set-up a number of highlight reel goals. In this game, where he won Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game honours, he scored once and had three helpers. Devin Michael also had a huge night for AWARE with two goals and two assists; Lundback added two goals and an assist; and Jouni Heinonen had four assists.
Harrison Oztemel with his sixth goal of the season scored Suhkumvit’s lone marker, as the team was missing Dave McBurney, Richie Jiaravanon and Ith Vatanapanyakul. This is just a game that Sukhumvit would much rather forget as they weren’t in it from the puck drop and seemed listless and lethargic throughout.
In the second game, Expedia was missing Juhani Ijas, Pratch Siridhara, Chayutapon (First) Kulrat, Win Khuhakaew and Rob Taylor, so Ichiro Hara and Yutaka Kariya stepped in as subs. Hertz was missing Sebastien Ranger, Alasdair Fawcett and Ralf Dittmer and grabbed Patrick Forstner as a substitute player.
Hertz jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on goals by Mike Triacca, Justin St. Denis, Moo Tengsakul and Bill Bredesen and things did not look good for Expedia. But then substitute Kariya started displaying some of his excellent skating ability he’s known for, scoring once and assisting on Remo Nyffenegger’s blast. And just as it looked like the momentum was shifting Expedia’s way, keeper Cox let in a goal to Hertz’s sub Forstner and the momentum swept back to Hertz and they rode the game out for their third victory of the season.
Hertz’s Lance Parker, stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced, earning his second Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game honour this season, while James Cox, starting in his second consecutive start for Expedia in place of Yves Gaboriault, turned aside 26 of the 31 of the chucks of rubber fired at him.
The SHL standings now see AWARE atop the table with an 8-2 record; the Sukhumvit Spitfires are in second spot at 5-5; Expedia is in third with a 4-6 mark; and Hertz is in last with a 3-7 record.
Expedia’s Juhani Ijas and Hertz’s Andy Brine lead the stats race with 12 points each; Expedia’s Jordan Ashton and AWARE’s Devin Michael are tied for second with 10 points each and AWARE’s Phanuruj (Phu) Suwachirat, the early candidate for SHL rookie-of-the-year honors, is in third spot with 9
Phu is one of the most interesting stories of the year. At 16, he is the youngest player in the league, and at 175cm and 67kg is certainly not one of the biggest, but a combination of speed and tenacity have seen excel against the veteran players in the league. He even garnered Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game honors in AWARE’s recent 5-2 victory over Hertz.
The SHL continues play on Thursday January 18th with Expedia playing AWARE at 8:30 and Hertz playing Suhkumvit at 9:30pm and. 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.