Despite having many of the SHL’s premier Thai players away for an Olympic qualifying event in Sanya, China, the SHL continued on with its schedule and the replacement players made sure both games were exciting. AWARE ended up snapping Peak’s unbeaten streak in game one and Novotel edged Hertz in game two.
Subbing for injured Peak goalie Gabor Toth on the night was Greg Beatty who was called up from the Thai Stix ball hockey squad. Greg was wearing his ball hockey equipment and he played in borrowed skates with a borrowed goalie stick. He did a great job, especially considering he hadn’t been on the ice for a couple of decades though back in the day he played junior B hockey in Canada and participated in Boston Bruin alumni games.
SHL history was made on the night when the three Olofsson brothers skated together on Peak as elder brother Anders, a ball hockey beast, suited up with middle-brother Christian, a regular member of Peak and the SHL secretary, and younger brother Henrik, a fitness instructor and member of the Johnny Oduya Flying Farang championship team.
AWARE who was winless heading into this game added Beer Thamwongsin to substitute for their three missing players (Jari Eerikainen, Mat Sigel and Tommi Hakkinen). Player-wise Peak was missing Yean Thanakroekkiat, Mel Dhiranusornkit, Punn Phasukkijwatana, Patrick Forstner, Michael White and Hideki Nagayama adding the Olofssons and Seb Ranger and Verdy as subs.
Peak jumped into an early 1-0 lead on this game as Jesse Starosta scored the first of his two goals on the night (he also added an assist). AWARE’s Andy Tse scored a Bobby Orr-like goal late in the first period to tie it up as he rushed up from his own defensive zone, streaked down the right-hand side past all the Peak defenders before burying a puck past Peak keeper Greg Beatty. Andy added two assists on the night and was a force to be reckoned with at both ends of the rink all night. Jesse scored his second goal with 1:39 left in the period giving Peak a 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
In the second period, Corry Day scored his first goal of the night bringing the team even, but Henrik Olofsson put Peak back in top 3-2 shortly afterwards, before Day scored again leaving the teams tied at 3 heading into the second intermission.
Early in the third period, Brandon Vick put AWARE up for good making it 4-3, Corry Day followed this with this third goal of the night making it 5-3. Adrian Meyers then went coast-to-coast for his own highlight-reel goal midway through the third period netting the insurance marker for AWARE. Captain Justin St-Denis added on one more goal for AWARE and Henrik Olofsson scored his second goal of the night for Peak with 12 seconds left making it a 7-4 final.
Igor Sykora earned his first win as an SHL substitute goalie playing in place of Thai National Team goalie Dream Ungkulpattanasuk. Corry Day, last year’s leading scorer in the SHL, had a big night for AWARE netting a hat-trick and an assist and earning himself the Rolling Stone Pizza Player-of-the-Game award.
Game two saw the Novotel Spitfires take on Hertz. Novotel was missing Peam Jaratwuttipreeda, Winnie Luckanatinskorn, Dmitry Maslov and goalie Yu Cheng (Leo) Liao. They added Adam Teodorsson, and Title Prachayanant.
Substitute Swedish player Adam Teodorsson, playing in his first SHL game, opened the scoring for Novotel with less than a minute gone in the game. Young Russian substitute Vlas Nagibin then scored back-to-back goals for Hertz giving them a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Novotel then exploded for four unanswered goals in the second period as Bill Bredesen with two (earning himself the Rolling Stone Pizza Player-of-the-Game award), Mike Freeson and Caley Steinert, the only woman playing in the SHL, hit the back of the twine behind Hertz keeper Lance Parker. Major Ingkharratphithakon, the winner of the Johnny Oduya scholarship award, scored a beautiful goal late in the second period going end-to-end and finishing it off with a top-shelf wrist shot past substitute Novotel goalie Jason Cotsmire, making his second start of the season. Hertz captain Jordan Ashton added a marker in the third period to make the final score 5-4 for Hertz. Novotel outshot Hertz 33-21 in the game.
Hertz’s Roman Larin, one of the best defensemen in the SHL, unfortunately let his emotions get the better of him in this game and he was tossed with a game misconduct after receiving his third minor penalty of the night late in the second period.
A big shout-out to Keith Mueller for broadcasting the SHL games; this former NBC producer, who spends the winters in Bangkok, worked on the Seoul Olympics for NBC among his many achievements. This technical wizard knows his stuff and is delighting SHL fans with his play-by-play and commentary. Watch the SHL games on https://www.facebook.com/thailandtv.tv/.
For more information on the SHL check out Dom Dumais great podcasts and interviews with SHL players.