The SHL was faced with yet another wave of substitute players for week five as many of the Thai National Team players hadn’t recovered from their recent IIHF qualifying tournament in Sanya, China.
As such, game one saw Jason Cotsmire replacing Novotel keeper Yu Cheng (Leo) Liao who was actually playing for his native Taiwam in that same IIHF tournament. Cotsy was 2-0 coming into the game as a substitute this year but his luck ran out on him as AWARE blasted 28 shots at him on the way to a 7-3 victory.
Leading the way for AWARE on the night was Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game Brandon Vick, who scored a hat-trick, and even had two goals on the same shift. Vick, if you recall, played on that dynamic line with Michael White and Corry Day for the Novotel Spitfires last year before he was forced to return home to America. It has taken him some time to get his groove back, but he definitely found his mojo on this night. And helping him out was Mr. Versatility himself Tommi Hakkinen, the stout Finnish defenseman moved to forward on the night and set up both of Vick’s first two goals.
AWARE jumped into a 3-0 lead on Vick’s two goals and the first of two goals by Devin Michael. Novotel’s Mike Freeson made 3-1 but Matt Johnson’s marker saw AWARE take a 4-1 lead into the first intermission.
AWARE struck twice more in the second period on Devin’s second goal of the night and a snipe by marksman Corry Day to make it 6-1 heading into the third period.
Novotel tried a brief rally on goals by Marcel Bouwens and captain Brad Wilson but Vick countered with his hat-trick goal in the final minutes to make it a 7-3 final. Dream Ungkulpattanasuk faced 24 shots in the AWARE net.
In the evening’s second contest Hertz pulled off a big upset coming from behind 3-2 to defeat Peak Biolabs 7-5, all the more impressive when you consider Peak had superstar Thai defenseman Ken Kindborn substituting for them. The momentum shifts in this game were simply too numerous to count.
Hertz jumped into an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Darius Konotopetz but Peak tied it on a goal by Stephen Sproule, playing his first game of the season. Konotopetz then scored his second goal of the period to give Hertz a 2-1 lead going into the second period.
Peak took the lead early in the second stanza on goals by SHL President John Schachnovsky and Kindborn but Hertz responded with goals by captain Jordan Ashton and substitute player Mangkorn Sukwiboon and the period ended 4-3 in Hertz’s favour.
The third period saw Peak pull even early on a tying marker by Punn Phasukkijwatana, scoring his first SHL goal. But then young Thai star Phu Suwachirat went to work scoring three unanswered goals to cement the win for Hertz though Kindborn did score one more goal for Peak to make the score close.
In the twines, Gabor Toth faced 21 shots for Peak but he was obviously not himself as he has been nursing an arm injury for weeks. Hertz keeper Lance Parker, famous for unorthodox style saw 16 pucks sent his way by the Peak squad. The Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game was Hertz’s Phu Suwachirat for his four-point night as he added an assist on Mangkorn’s goal.
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