Two barnburners captivate SHL fans & players alike

 

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What a night! TRUE stopped AWARE’s consecutive win streak at ten, handing them their first loss of the season, while HERTZ won in OT with a minute left on the clock, after being down by two heading into the third period.

In what can only be described as the biggest upset of the 2018-2019 season so far, TRUE defeated AWARE in the first game of SHL action on Sunday January 20th. AWARE was missing stellar defensemen Juhani Ijas and Roman Larin as well as forwards Devin Michael and Matt Sigel, so the buzz before the game was that if AWARE was going to be beaten, this could be the match.

Like so many games for TRUE this season, the opponent scored first with Dmitrii Maslov showing great hand-eye coordination by batting the puck out of the air past True netminder Lance Parker to make the score 1-0 with just under ten minutes remaining in the first period. Assists went to Phanuruj “Phu” Suwachirat and Patrik Lundback. The rest of the first period was a close fought affair and ended with the 1-0 scoreline.

TRUE’s John Schachnovsky aims for the AWARE net as Christian Olofsson defense.

The second period saw TRUE begin to take advantage of their full bench while AWARE begin to struggle with their short bench. TRUE tied the game at 1-1 a few minutes into the period when Chanokchon “Tan” Limpinphet received a pass from Jaren Folden. Tan picked up speed racing into the AWARE zone and when it seemed he was going to go around the net, he passed the puck into the crease where it bounced off an AWARE defenseman and past goalie Patrick Leduc. With under seven minutes to go, another great individual effort led to a TRUE goal. Patrick Forstner took the puck from the TRUE zone and took it deep into the AWARE end, he then slid a pass to the slot where John Schachnovsky was streaking down the middle of the ice, Schachnovsky took the pass and fired it past Leduc. The second period ended 2-1 in TRUE’s favor.

The third period saw a flurry of goals, with the two teams combining for seven more before the game was over. Less than a minute into the period AWARE tied the game at two when Bill Bredesen scored unassisted, however, a little over a minute later Jordan Ashton scored on a sweet backhand shot with an assist from TRUE defenseman Adrian Myers, On their next shift, Ashton and Myers hooked up again on a nice play with Ashton netting his second of the game to make the score 4-2 with still over twelve minutes to play in the third period. With just under nine minutes to go in the third, AWARE & SHL leading goal-scorer Harrison Oztemel buried a pass from Ryan Yaden to cut the lead back to one.

The intensity of the game grew after that with both teams getting numerous chances, but Parker and Leduc stood tall in net. Finally, with under four minutes to play, TRUE captain Mike Wilson scored after a nice feed from Myers, and True had their two-goal lead once again. The secondary assist going to TRUE goalie Parker, his first assist in league play. With less than two minutes to play, AWARE, needing two goals to tie the game, pulled Leduc for the extra skater. They didn’t need much time to cut the deficit to one as defenseman Christian Olofsson, more known for his stellar work in the defensive zone, channeled his “inner Lidstrom” and fired a shot past Parker to make the TRUE players and fans a little nervous. The Olofsson goal was assisted by Maslov.

TRUE’s Patrick Forstner tries to get around AWARE’s Caley Steinert.

But as he has done so many times before, the TRUE captain took matters into his own hands and secured the game with an empty-net goal with under a minute to play. It was Wilson’s second of the game with assists going to Kim Lidberg and Myers. It was Myers fourth assist of the contest. Final score: True 6 Aware 4.

For his great defensive play and with one assist on the night, Folden was named the Rolling Stone Pizza Player of the Game. Parker made 23 saves in the winning effort and Leduc stopped 27.

The second game of the evening looked to be a snore fest as both squads were missing five players each: Ken Kindborn, Tommi Hakkinen, Jouni Heinonen. Matt Johnson and goalie Yves Gaboriault were absent from Novotel while Hertz was missing captain Justin St.Denis, Andy Brine, Jari Eerikainen, Ralf Dittmer and Alasdair Fawcett. But it turned out to be one of the most exciting games of the season with substitute player Non Aekkasemnarong winning it when he went top shelf on Novotel keeper Jason Cotsmire on a breakaway with 1:05 remaining in 3-on-3 overtime.

Novotel’s Michael White attempts to get by Hertz’s Darius Konotopetz.

Novotel had taken a 2-1 at the end of the first period and at the end of two they were leading 4-2 on four goals by Michael White, but that’s when it started getting interesting. Hertz’s Moo Tengsakul and Mangkorn Sukwiboon scored early in the third period to tie the score at four, only to have substitute Joe Pettit put Novotel ahead again with just over ten minutes left in the game. A minute later, substitute Bas Tulwathana tied it for Hertz on a nice feed from Mangkorn and then Hertz went ahead for the first time in the game when Mangkorn scored from Yean Thanakroekkiat. Novotel didn’t roll over though as the ever-tenacious Ernesto Bauer scored from Pettit to tie the game up again and send it into overtime.

Carly Hill put in another sensational effort for Novotel in a losing cause setting up three of Michael White’s goals on nice feeds. And when was the last time someone scored four goals and wasn’t the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game? But that honour went to Khun Mangkorn for his four-point performance (3G, 1A), as he was the driving force in rallying his teammates in this great come-from-behind victory.

When it was all tallied and done, Jason Cotsmire saved 37 of the 44 shots fired his way in the Novotel net, while Dream Ungkulpattanasuk saved 31 of the 37 pucks shot at him between the pipes for Hertz.

Novotel’s Ernesto Bauer hopes to get the puck in front of the Hertz net.

Novotel’s two top snipers Corry Day and Michael White sit atop the SHL scoring race with 22 & 20 points, respectively. Corry has twelve goals and ten assists while Michael has nine goals and eleven assists. AWARE’s Harrison Oztemel is in third spot with fourteen goals and five assists for nineteen points. His teammate on AWARE, Juhani Ijas, the coach of the Thai national team, is in fourth spot with nine goals and eight assists while TRUE captain Mike Wilson has jumped into fifth spot with 13 points on six goals and seven assists.

SHL action resumes Thursday January 24th when Hertz takes on AWARE in game one at 8:30pm and Novotel faces AWARE in the second contest at 9:30pm. Admission is free and all games take place at the Rink, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX.