As the SHL calendar, turned into the final third of the season, the second match on January 25th saw AWARE continue their hot streak with a 7-4 victory over the Sukhumvit Spitfires. The two top teams in the standings battled back and forward, with AWARE taking a commanding 4-1 lead in the first. The team in red got two goals from Devin Michael and singles by Corry Day and David Boere to put them ahead going into the first intermission.
The second period saw an offensive outburst by Spitfires that helped them climb back into the game, constantly buzzing in front of solid AWARE goaltender Patrick Leduc. Adrian Myers scored on a pretty passing play just 50 seconds into the period and sniper Michael White danced into the offensive zone and fired a well-placed shot, far side, just a minute later. A controversial quick whistle as well as a goal-crease violation had the Spitfire squad losing their cool and potentially also their momentum going into the final act.
Hard working forward Ollie Moyse pulled AWARE ahead early in the third to make it 6-4 and give his side a bit of breathing room. Veteran Corry Day, a big reason for AWARE’s recent success, finished off the scoring when he knocked down a clearing attempt and potted his third of the night with 7 minutes to go, deservingly earning the Rolling Stone Pizza Player-of-the-Game honours in the process.
AWARE had 39 shots on goal on the night, with Thai National team goalie Dream Ungkulpattanasuk making 32 saves for Spitfires. Patrik Leduc has yet to lose a game in the SHL as he turned aside 23 of the 27 shots fired his way. It was AWARE’s eighth straight win – a new SHL record.
Our first game of the night saw Expedia facing off against Hertz. The series between these two teams stood at two games apiece, heading into this contest. Expedia came out in this one all fired up, scoring two goals in the first ten minutes of the game, one by Juhani Ijas and the second by Peravit “Chap” Kovitaya. Hertz finally got on the board with just under four minutes left in the first period with a goal by Brandon Vick.
Hertz captain Justin St. Denis, scored his first goal of the night just over a minute into the second period when Hertz was on a power play when Expedia’s Chayutapon “First” Kulrat’s was penalized for holding. Just three minutes later saw Expedia take the lead again when Ijas scored an unassisted goal and the period ended 3-2 in Expedia’s favour.
The third period saw a flurry of action with Hertz getting early goals from St. Denis and Sebastien Ranger to take a 4-3 lead, then SHL president John Schachnovsky scored for Expedia to tie it at 4. Hertz’s Moo Tengsakul scored to put Hertz ahead 5-4 but Ijas replied with his third of the night to tie it at 5. Then Hertz’s Mike Triacca scored the winner, and final goal of the night, with just under four minutes left in the game, making it a 6-5 final for Hertz with Expedia outshooting Hertz, 37-29. The Rolling Stone Pizza Player of the Game went to St. Denis for his two goals and great offensive and defensive play all night long.
The SHL standings have AWARE atop the table with a 11-2 record; the Sukhumvit Spitfires are in second spot at 7-6; Expedia and Hertz are now tied for third with a 4- 9 record.
Hertz’s Andy Brine sits atop the SHL’s stats race with 16 points; Expedia’s Juhani Ijas is in second spot with 15 points: AWARE’s Devin Michael is in third spot with 14 points and AWARE’s Darius Konotopetz and Phu Suwachirat are tied for fourth with 11 points each.
The SHL continues play on Sunday January 28th with Hertz playing AWARE at 8:30pm and Expedia playing Sukhumvit at 9:30. 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.