Though the final results were similar the two games played out in week seven of the 2018-19 Sport Corner Siam Hockey League (SHL) season were both very close and entertaining. In the first game played on Thursday November 29th, with just over seven minutes left in the third period AWARE came back from a 3-2 deficit to score three straight goals to top Hertz 5-3 stretching their unbeaten streak alive at seven. In game two, TRUE came ever so close to claiming their first win of the season as Lance Parker turned in a very impressive performance stopping 29 shots only to be out done by the keeper at the other end, Gabor Toth, who stood on his head, stopping 26 shots and earning his first shutout of the season as Novotel won 2-0.
Game one saw AWARE jump out to a 1-0 lead on a first-period goal by acting captain Devin Michael. Early in the second period Ryan Yaden scored the first of his two goals on the night. But Hertz stuck back with goals from Moo Tengsakul and former AWARE forward Darius Konotopetz to leave the score tied at two going into the third period. Hertz went ahead when Moo scored his second goal of the game halfway through the third period but AWARE rallied to win with three unanswered goals by Harrison Oztemel, Yaden and Mat Sigel. Yaden was the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game for his two-goal effort and is quickly earning himself a reputation as the “Phil Esposito of the Siam Hockey League” for his uncanny ability to puck in pucks from goalmouth scrambles.
Dream Ungkulpattanasuk stopped 28 of the shots fired at him in the Hertz net while AWARE’s Patrick Leduc turned aside 21 of the 24 shots fired his way. Both teams were missing key players as Andy Brine was serving a one-game suspension for Hertz and AWARE was missing three key defensemen (captain Patrik Lundback, Roman Larin and Christian Olofsson). Ironically both of Christian’s brothers (Anders, Henrik) substituted for Hertz on this night.
Game two was ever so close with momentum shifts back and forth throughout the night with each keeper making one good save after another. The White Walkers, as Novotel has come to be known, prevailed in the end with Brandon Vick scoring the first and winning goal unassisted at 7:16 of the first period and Corry Day adding an empty-netter with 1;12 on the clock for his league-leading tenth goal of the campaign. Novotel’s Matt Johnson earned the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game award, a rarity as he earned it for his defensive play, stopping and breaking up a number of TRUE plays throughout the night. Players are mostly noted for their offensive exploits, so it was nice to see the D get some love.
After seven games, Novotel’s Corry Day continues to be the SHL’s scoring leader with 18 points (10G, 8A); linemate Michael White is in second spot with 14 points (5G, 9A); AWARE’s Harrison Oztemel (7G, 5A) is in third spot with 12 points and his teammates Roman Larin and Juhani Ijas are tied in fourth spot with 10 points each (4 G, 6A).
Games on Sunday December 2nd were unfortunately canceled as a number of players were out of town but SHL action continues on Thursday December 13th with Hertz playing Novotel at 8:30pm and AWARE playing TRUE at 9:30pm. 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.