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You couldn’t have scripted game one of SHL action on Sunday, February 10th any better. Ex-NHLer, and two-time Stanley Cup champion defenseman, Johnny Oduya blasted a shot past Novotel Spitfire goalie Yves Gaboriault to earn TRUE a thrilling 4-3 win in a shutout drama, which saw Gaborialut make two spectacular skate saves prior to Oduya’s game-winning goal.
Jordan Ashton opened the scoring for TRUE four minutes into the game from Patrick Forstner and Ith Vatanapanyakul. SHL scoring leader Corry Day tied it at one on a feed from Ernesto Bauer late in the first period and that’s the way it stayed until five minutes were left in the second period when substitute Robin Lehmann scored the first of his two goals to give Novotel a 2-1 lead going into the second intermission.
Jordan Ashton scored his second goal of the night to tie the game up again early in the second and then with three minutes left on the clock Kim Lidberg scored to put TRUE in front by a goal. One minute later, Novotel’s Robin Lehmann rushed in from the point and scored on a nice set-up from Joe Pettit to send the game into four minutes of 3-on-3 sudden-death overtime.
After Novotel’s Robin Lehmann, Corry Day and Michael White missed on their shootout chances and TRUE’s Tan Limpinphet and Patrick Forstner did the same Johnny Oduya supplied a Hollywood-style ending by blasting the winning shootout goal past Novotel’s Yves Gaboriault and was named the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game for his effort.
In this game Oduya was subbing in for John Schachnovsky and TRUE captain Mike Wilson. Like in the two previous games he played on Thursday his presence elevated the play of all those around him. Novotel was missing Matt Johnson, Jason Bitter, Jouni Heinonen (again), Tommi Hakinen and David Boere and subbed in Lehmann and Ben Dolgin-Gardner.
In game two, Johnny Oduya donned a Hertz jersey as Hertz was missing Thai national players Moo Tengsakul and Champ Supadilokluk as well as Alasdair Fawcett though Andy Brine did return to the Hertz line-up after missing a number of games. AWARE was missing Roman Larin, Dmitrii Maslov, Phu Suwachirat and Mat Sigel and they subbed in Beer Thamwongsin.
This game was much closer than the 6-1 final indicated as AWARE scored their final three goals in the closing minutes of the game. Harrison Oztemel had a hat trick for AWARE while Devin Michael, Beer Thamwongsin and Juhani Ijas added singles.
Caley Steinert earned the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game award and it was well deserved for her excellent defensive play as she became the second woman to capture SHL PoG honors, as Novotel’s Carly Hill had done so earlier in the year.
Dream Ungkulpattanasuk stopped 22 of the 28 shots fired at the Hertz twine while AWARE’s Patrick Leduc stopped 16 of the 17 shots sent his way. And although Oduya did score Hertz’s lone goal this game was the only he lost in the four he played in Bangkok.
Novotel’s Corry Day is still leading the SHL scoring race with 28 points (16 G, 12A), while AWARE’s Harrison Oztemel sits a point back in second spot with a league-leading twenty-one goals and six assists for 27 points. AWARE’s Juhani Ijas is third spot with 13 goals and 12 assists for 24 points. TRUE’s Jordan Ashton (13G, 9A) and Novotel’s Michael White (9G, 13A) are tied for fourth place with 22 points each.
AWARE still has a stranglehold on first place with 28 points, losing only twice all year. Novotel sits solidly in second position with 18 points. But the real battle still lies between Hertz and TRUE for that third playoff spot as no one wants to face AWARE in the first round of the playoffs. Hertz currently leads TRUE by one point with two more games left in the regular season. So, their contest on Thursday, February 20th at 8:30pm is of vital importance. AWARE faces Novotel at 9:30pm on the same date. Admission is free and the games take place at the Rink, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX.