AWARE clinches first place overall

In the last weekend of January, AWARE stretched its win streak to nine, with a 7-4 victory over Expedia, thereby clinching first place overall in the 2017-18 Sport Corner Siam Hockey League season.

But prior to that game, the Sukhumvit Spitfires claimed second place overall with a 6-3 victory over Hertz. In that contest, Hertz came out looking to build on last game’s win with a pair of goals in the first period from Brandon Vick, but they just weren’t able to capitalize on the early lead.

Sukhumvit’s Harrison Oztemel and Hertz’s Mike Triacca race for the puck.

In the second period, we saw Hertz slow down as the Sukhumvit Spitfires started to soar. Substitute player Tim Suphankomut scored Spitfires first goal just two minutes into the second period after he received a pass from Adrian Meyers. With five minutes left in the second period, the Spitfires scored three quick goals: first, an unassisted tally by Chanokchon “Tan” Limpinphet; second, Araya “Ith” Vatanapanyakul scored assisted by Suphankomut; and third, Michael White scored with just 15 seconds left in the period assisted by Limpinphet and Gary Cosby.

The third period saw Hertz try to mount a comeback two-and-a-half minutes into the third period when Jantaphong “Moo” Tengsakul broke out of Hertz’s zone, passed the puck to Chanchit “Champ” Supadilokluk who relayed it to Mike Triacca who beat Pattarapol “Dream” Ungkulpattanasuk. Just over two minutes later, things fizzled out for Hertz when Harrison Oztemel let a laser beam of a shot go, finding the back of the net after receiving a pass from Ernesto Bauer. With two minutes left in the game, Hertz again tried to mount a last-minute comeback by pulling Lance Parker from the net to give themselves an extra attacker, but they just couldn’t get it done. With five seconds left in the game, Spitfires captain, Brad Wilson broke up a play breaking out of the Hertz’s zone and skated in to tap in an empty netter. Hertz had the edge in shots in the game 44-37.

A lot of key players were missing for both squads in the second tilt of the evening between AWARE and Expedia. Most notably Expedia’s stellar defenseman Juhani Iljas and speedy forward Corry Day for league-leading AWARE.

Before the game, AWARE Captain Patrik Lundback urged his team to get a quick lead to build on, and he led by example scoring just one minute into the game on a nice pass by Jouni Heinonen from behind the Expedia net. Smooth skating and hard shooting Yean Thanakroekkiat made it 2-0 a minute later before Jordan Ashton got Expedia back within one, with a nice move on a breakaway. Yean would add his second goal of the night before the first period was over to extend the lead to 3-1 at the first intermission.

AWARE’s Darius Konotopetz and Expedia’s Jordan Ashton face-off in the second match of the night.

The second period ended in a tie with goals scored by Christian Olofsson and David Boere for AWARE, David had a strong middle frame that eventually led to him picking up the Rolling Stone Pizza Player of the game. John Schachnovsky and Jordan Ashton replied for Expedia. The tally from Jordan came in the dying seconds of the period to make the score 5-3, providing momentum to the Expedia team.

The third period saw AWARE take three straight penalties and being partially outshot by a hungry Expedia team trying to rally back. But they could not find a way to put the puck behind outstanding goalie Patrick Leduc, who made several key saves, especially in-tight in the final minutes of the game. Ollie Moyse finalized the scoring with an empty-netter in the final minute, extending AWARE’s record win streak to nine games.

AWARE fired 27 shots towards Expedia goalie Yves Gaboriault most of them coming in the opening two periods. Expedia mustered 26 shots on Leduc who has yet to lose a game in the SHL.

The SHL standings have AWARE atop the table with a 12-2 record; the Sukhumvit Spitfires are in second spot at 8-6; while Expedia and Hertz stay tied for third with a 4- 10 record.

Hertz’s Andy Brine continues to sits atop the SHL stats race with 20 points; followed by Expedia’s Juhani Ijas with 19. AWARE’s Devin Michael is in third spot followed by AWARE teammates Yean Thanakroekkiat and Jouni Heinonen, with 15 points apiece.

The SHL continues play on Sunday February 4th with Expedia playing Sukhumvit at 8:30pm and Hertz playing AWARE at 9:30. Admission is free and all games take place at the Rink, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX.