Week eight of the Sport Corner Siam Hockey League season saw Peak Biolabs battle Hertz in game one and Novotel Spitfires take on Aware in the second match.
In Game one, Hertz and Peak gave the fans a great, close game from the opening puck drop.
Peak started the scoring a little over five minutes into the game when Mel Dhiranusumkit scored his first career SHL goal off a great assist by Patrick Forstner. Three minutes after Peak took the early lead, Hertz tied the game at one when Thai youngster Major Ingkharratphithakon, continuing a run of great play over the first part of the season, sniped a shot past Peak goalie Gabor Toth. Win Khukakeaw and First Kulrat earned helpers on the goal. Late in the first period, Hertz grabbed the lead when Captain Jordan Ashton, took a slick pass from Mike Wilson and fired the puck past Gabor. The second assist on the goal going to Darius Konotopetz.
The second period was less than three minutes old when Peak tied the game at two when Christian Olafsson fired a long distance shot that found its way to the net and past Lance Parker. The assists went to Elias Bengtsson and Jesse Starosta. Less than three minutes later, Hertz regained the lead when Win Khukakeaw scored on an unassisted goal, adding to a great night by the young Thai National Team superstar.
The third period was less than a minute old when Hertz added to their lead after a great goal by Konotopetz with assists from Adam Teodorsson and Jordan Ashton. Peak made it a one-goal game again when captain Harrison Oztemel fired one passed Parker with an assist going to Eddie McConnell.
Once again Hertz made it a two-goal game when Mike Wilson showed some great skill on a snipe passed Toth. Assists went to Konotopetz and Ashton.
Peak made it interesting with less than three minutes to play when McConnell scored with assists from Mel and Oztemel.
Peak was unable to get the equalizer, and the game ended 5-4 Hertz. The Rolling Stone Pizza Player-of-the-Game was Win Khukakeaw. Parker made 16 saves to secure the win; Toth also made 16 saves, in a losing effort.
Game two saw Novotel defeat Aware 6-1 and Spitfire keeper Yu Cheng (Leo) Liao is quickly becoming Aware’s arch-nemesis as Aware is finding it incredibly difficult to score on him. Leo would also be the SHL’s mid-season MVP if a vote was held; he has been that good.
Novotel jumped into a 4-0 lead on two goals by Mike Freeson, and one each by Jason Bitter and Peam Jaratwuttipreeda before Aware’s Jari Eerikainen finally put a puck past Leo, and it was only because he paused and placed his rebound past him. The only way to score on Leo is to put traffic in front of him or place your shot – shoot at him and he will stop it all the time. Mangkorn Sukwiboon and Pierre Karlsson, playing in his first SHL game, scored for Novotel in the third period to complete the rout.
The first three Aware goals were all scored to the top right-hand corner of Aware’s net as the Novotel snipers kept firing at Dream’s perceived weakness. The Thai national team goalie will need to get back to the form he showed last season when he led Hertz to the league championship if Aware is going to start putting some “W’s” on the score-clock.
Aware captain Justin St. Denis had an interesting draft strategy as he chose to draft veteran Farang players, eschewing the young Thai national speedsters. Justin has captured two SHL titles in the past, so many assumed that there was a method in his madness. But the veteran squad has been frustrated with its play of late with even sure-shot sniper Corry Day has been missing chances he usually capitalizes on. So the veteran squad has taken to blaming the referees, instead of just taking a look in the mirror and realizing what its strengths are: experience and poise. This is the one squad who shouldn’t rattle under pressure.
Mike Freeson was the Rolling Stone Pizza Player-of-the-Game in this contest which saw Aware outshot Novotel 26-25 on the night.
Aware’s Cory Day still sits atop the SHL’s leader board with 14 points. Peak’s Jesse Starosta is in second spot with 13 points while substitute Ken Kindborn is in third spot with 12. Peak captain Harrison Oztemel, Mangkorn Sukwiboon (another substitute player) and Novotel’s Winnie Luckanatinskorn are tied in fourth place with nine points each. Day leads all scorers with nine goals.
SHL action continues on Sunday December 1st when Peak takes on Novotel in game one at 8:30 and Hertz faces off against Aware at 9:30pm. Humboldt Bronco Ryan Straschnitzki, who is in Thailand for a surgical procedure, will drop the puck in a ceremonial face-off for the first game.
For more information on the SHL check out Dom Dumais great podcasts and interviews with SHL players.