Dream shines & Big Red Machine win again

The fifth set of games in the 2018-19 Siam Hockey League (SHL) took place on Thursday, November 15th. Action in the first match saw TRUE outshoot Hertz 36-20, but some outstanding goaltending from Dream Ungkulpattanasuk, who earned his second straight Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game award, saw Hertz defeat TRUE 2-1 for their second one-goal victory over TRUE this season.

The night’s second game saw the Novotel Spitfires give AWARE a run for their money, but in the end, the big red juggernaut won its fifth in a row, 7-4.

So, after five weeks of SHL action, AWARE at 5-0 sits undefeated at the top of the table, with Novotel in second at 3-2, Hertz in third spot at 2-3 and TRUE winless in fourth spot at 0-5.

Dream holds the fort as Darius Konotopetz and Yean Thanakroekkiat box out TRUE’s Jesse Starosta.

In game one, the elusive Andy Brine staked Hertz to a 1-0 lead late in the first period on a nice pass from Mangkorn Sukwiboon. In the middle of the third period, TRUE tied it up with Jordan Ashton finishing off a nice three-way passing play with captain Mike Wilson and sub Patrick Forstner. But under a minute later, Mangkorn put Hertz ahead for good on assists from Yean Thanakroekkiat and Sebastien Ranger.

The story of this game was Dream as he made a number of outstanding saves, one backhand grab, reminiscent of Dominik Hasek, robbed Jordan Ashton of what seemed like a sure goal, drawing a collective gasp from the captivated audience.

This was by far TRUE’s best game as they dominated puck procession and moved the puck around very well but Dream stopped all their shots, except one.

Game two saw AWARE and Novotel trade leads throughout the game; Novotel jumped out to a 1-0 on Corry Day’s first goal midway through the first but AWARE’s Roman Larin tied it in the final minute of the first period. Novotel went back in front when Corry Day scored his second of the night, but AWARE struck back on goals by Juhani Ijas and Christian Olofsson. Corry Day completed his natural trick halfway through the second but AWARE sub Moo Tengsakul scored with just over a minute to play in the second stanza giving AWARE at 4-3 lead heading into the second intermission. Phu Suwacharit made it 5-3 halfway through the third but Novotel drew within one goal again as Ken Kindborn scored an unassisted goal.

With just over a minute left in the game, Corry Day took an unfortunate hooking call and Juhani Ijas on a seeing-eye blast from the point made it 6-4; the last AWARE goal was scored by Dmitri Maslov into an empty net. Ijas had a brilliant game and with two goals was named the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game.

Novotel captain Brad Wilson helps out Novotel keeper Gabor Toth as three AWARE players hover in front on the goal.

Gabor Toth stopped 19 of the 26 well-placed shots fired at him by AWARE snipers while Patrick Leduc turned aside 13 of the 17 projectiles Novotel hurled at him including an incredible leg save on Corry Day at a key juncture in the game which would have tied the score.

The key in both games was that the winning goalies made important saves at pivotal moments, which had they not done so would have led to momentum changes and possible losses.

History was also made in this game as two female competitors faced off against each other for the first time in SHL history as Novotel’s Carly Hill went up against AWARE’s Caley Steinert.

After five games, Novotel’s Corry Day continues to be the SHL’s scoring leader with 13 points (9G, 5A); linemate Michael White is in second spot with 10 points (3G, 7A); AWARE’s Harrison Oztemel is in third spot with 8 points (5G, 3A); and AWARE’s Roman Larin and Phu Suwachirat (4 G, 3A) are tied for fourth spot with 7 points each.

SHL action continues on Sunday, November 15th with TRUE playing AWARE at 8:30pm and Novotel playing Hertz at 9:30pm. Admission is free and all games take place at the Rink, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX.

[follow]