Novotel’s woes continue & Hertz edges TRUE

 

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The Novotel Spitfires have gone into a four-game tailspin to start 2019 and they don’t seem to be showing any sign of shaking their slump. Their 5-1 loss to AWARE last Sunday night (Jan 27th), their fourth loss to AWARE this season, just heightened the team’s frustration. Missing star defenseman Ken Kindborn to injury and Whitewalkers winger Brandon Vick, who returned to America, the team isn’t able to sustain the continued offensive effort they did early in the year, even though they still have two players in the top three scorers (Corry Day & Michael White). For this game, White showed up at the rink a new father as his wife Yui had just given birth to the couple’s second child and first daughter, Persia.

AWARE’s Winnie Luckanatinakorn & Novotel’s Corry Day do battle for the puck.

At the end of the first period AWARE held a 1-0 lead as Phu Suwachirat scored his first goal of the game That lead stretched to 4-1 at the end of the second period on AWARE goals by Ryan Yaden, Devin Michael and SHL leading goalscorer Harrison Oztemel while Corry Day scored Novotel’s only goal on an unassisted effort. Phu added a second goal in the third stanza to make it a 5-1 final. AWARE outshot Novotel 33-19 in the game and Chritsian Olofsson scoring for the third straight game and put on a tremendous defensive display to win the Rolling Stone Pizza player of the game.

AWARE was missing Mat Sigel and Juhani Ijas for the contest while Ken Kindborn, Jouni Heinonen, Ernesto Bauer, Tommi Hakkinen and Jason Bitter were missing for Novotel. Novotel subbed Anders Olofsson on defense and Joe Pettit and Robin Lehmann up front. The latter played with Corry Day and Michel White on the top line and while the three did combine on a number of nice scoring chances they were only able to light the lamp once.

Novotel’s Ed McConnell tries to get the puck from AWARE captain Patrik Lundback while AWARE teammate Dmitrii Maslov waits for a loose puck.

The second game on Sunday was a battle for third place between True and Hertz. TRUE, flying high after winning three straight games, was missing recent addition Patrick Forstner, the player many thought was the catalyst for their recent success. They were also missing the backend prowess of Swede defenseman Peter Borjesson, and young Thai D-man Ith Vatanapanyakul. Hertz was missing last year’s leading scorer Andy Brine, Thai National team stud defenseman Champ Supadilokluk, UK import Alasdair Fawcett and crafty Thai veteran La Chamnanrattanakul.

The game was close from the puck drop. The first period saw lots of scoring chances, some great saves, and all of that added up to no goals.

The second period was as exciting, but both teams were able to light the lamp in the middle frame. TRUE had a pretty obvious strategy to try and limit the chances given to Thai National team defenseman Yean Thanakroekkiat and his world-class shot. They were able to keep Yean off the scoresheet and limited his shot in the first, but a few minutes into the second, Yean was given a little too much space at the point and ripped a huge slap shot past goalie Lance Parker. The assist went to Hertz captain Justin St. Denis.

Two minutes later, a Yean shot again was unleashed, however this time Parker made a great save, only for Darius Konotopetz to be “Johnny on the spot” and direct the rebound past Parker. St. Denis was awarded the secondary assist for his second point of the night. A few minutes later, True dumped the puck into the Hertz zone and after a little confusion and a fortuitous bounce, the puck ended up on Tan’s stick and he threw it at the net past Dream Ungkulpattanasuk.

Hertz captain Justin St. Denis prepares for the draw.

Hertz regained their two goal lead a short time later, when Darius slid the puck to St Denis who made a move from behind the net and was able to get the puck past Parker.

The second period scoring outburst continued only a few moments later when Alex Phelps saw a streaking Tan Limpinphet in the center of the ice and Tan made no mistake, using his great speed, he separated from the chasing defenders and showed soft hands as he scored his second of the period. The score was now 3-2. It seemed the period was going to end this way, until True defenseman Adrian Meyers took the puck with less than ten seconds to go in the period and dangled his way through the Hertz squad and put the puck top shelf past Dream. After a six goal second period, the game was knotted at three.

The third period settled into a close affair, similar to the first, with both teams getting their share of chances, with Dream and Parker making great saves and both offenses showing signs of life, but with neither team able to dent the twine. With just under seven minutes to play, Hertz went on the power play, and a minute into the power play Stephen Sproule was in the right place in front of the net and was able to get the puck past Parker. The game winning goal was assisted by Darius and Moo Tengsakul.

The final two minutes saw TRUE pull Parker and throw all they could at the Hertz net, but Dream and rest of Hertz stood tall and pulled out the 4-3 win.

Parker made 24 saves in the loss, with Dream making 22 saves in picking up the win. With a goal and two assists, Hertz captain St Denis was named the Rolling Stone Pizza player of the game.

Hertz’s keeper Dream Ungkulpattanasuk stares down TRUE’s Mike Wilson on a breakaway.

Novotel’s Corry Day is still leading the SHL scoring race with 23 points (13 G, 10A), while teammate Michael White, is tied in the second spot with 21 points (9G, 12A) with AWARE’s Harrison Oztemel who has fifteen goals and six assists. Harrison’s teammate on AWARE, Juhani Ijas, the coach of the Thai national team, in third with eleven goals and nine assists while TRUE captain Mike Wilson is in fourth with 14 points on seven goals and seven assists.

SHL action resumes Sunday February 3rd when the Novotel Spitfires play Hertz in game one at 8:30pm and AWARE takes on TRUE in the second contest at 9:30. Admission is free and all games take place at the Rink, on the 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX shopping mall.