The first game on February 11th was the most exciting of the season so far with AWARE extending their winning streak to a record eleven games as they beat the Sukhumvit Spitfires 4-3 in a six-round shootout with AWARE captain, Patrik Lundback, the SHL’s best player, fittingly scoring the winning goal in the shoot-out, as a four-minute three-on-three session overtime failed to produce a victor.
The game was back and forth all evening with Sukhumvit taking a 1-0 lead early in the first period on a goal by Harrison Oztemel before AWARE scored twice on markers by Olly Moyse and Corry Day taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Scott Murray and Harrison Oztemel, with his second of the night, staked the Spitfires to a 3-2 lead midway through the second and then Yean Thanakroekkiat, with one of his patented blasts, tied it at three heading into the second intermission. There were plenty of chances on both sides in the third, but both goalies (the Spitfires’ Dream Ungkulpattanasuk and AWARE’s Patrick Leduc) were outstanding, turning away opportunity after opportunity.
Sukhumvit’s Ernesto “Buzzsaw” Bauer took a holding penalty with nine seconds left in the game, leaving Sukhumvit shorthanded going into the 3-on-3 overtime stanza. But Sukhumvit killed off Bauer’s penalty, only to find him take another holding penalty almost as soon as he got back on the ice at 1:59 of overtime. Again, Sukhumvit weathered the AWARE storm with Adrian Meyers playing exceptionally well, as he played all but twenty seconds of the overtime stanza.
That led us to the shoot-out, which came down to AWARE’s sixth shooter (Lundback) before the outcome was finally decided. It was a heartbreaking loss for Sukhumvit, but they proved they could play with AWARE, and AWARE, which has romped through most of the regular season, was given a true test of their mettle. Dream, for the second straight match, was the Rolling Stone Pizza player of the game as he faced 44 shots on the night and made a number of key acrobatic saves.
The second game produced more frustration for Expedia as they lost the battle of third place to Hertz 5-3; But not from a lack of trying as Hertz led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, but each time Expedia came back to tie up the game before Hertz put it away with two unanswered markers in the third to capture the victory.
Andy Brine, who has been on fire of late, scored the opening goal of the night for Hertz. Substitute Stephen Sproule scored with two seconds left in the first period for Expedia, to leave the score tied at one heading into the first intermission.
Kim Lidberg staked Hertz to a 2-1 lead early in the second before SHL president John Schachnovsky let an Ovechkin-style blast go earning Expedia’s second goal. Brandon Vick put Hertz back in front 3-2 before Expedia’s Win Khuhakeaw tied the score at three as the teams headed into the second intermission.
Hertz just proved to strong in the third period and scored twice, with Lidberg, scoring his second of the night, and Mike Triacca doing the damage. Lidberg, who missed the first four games of the season, has proven to be a nice pick-up for Hertz, earning Rolling Stone Pizza player of the game honours. Hertz outshot Expedia 31-25 in the match.
The SHL standings see AWARE with a stranglehold on first with its 14-2 record; the Sukhumvit Spitfires are in second spot at 9-7; while Hertz has jumped into the third spot with a 5-11 record and Expedia is in the final spot with a 4-12 record.
Hertz’s Andy Brine continues to sit atop the SHL stats race with 7 goals and 15 assists; Expedia’s Juhani Ijas and AWARE’s Devin Michael are tied for second place with 11 goals and 8 assists each. Expedia’s Jordan Ashton and AWARE captain Patrik Lundback are then tied for third overall with 16 points.
The second-last set of games in the 2017-18 SHL season take place on Thursday February 15th with AWARE playing Expedia at 8:30pm and Hertz playing Sukhumvit at 9:30. Admission is free and all games take place at the Rink, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX. Though AWARE and Sukhumvit have first and second place secured, Hertz and Expedia are still battling to determine third and fourth place overall.
For more information on the SHL check out Dom Dumais great podcasts and interviews with SHL players.