A see-saw battle finally resulted in an 8-3 Hertz triumph in game one of SHL action on Thursday January 23rd. Hertz jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead only to see Peak rally to tie at three heading into the third period, but a massive five-goal outburst by the rent-a-car giants gave them a resounding victory.
Slovakian Igor Sykora substituting for Peak regular goalie Russian Gabor Toth admittedly didn’t believe his finest performance between the twines after delivering a lights out display for Hertz just a few days earlier. When it was all played out, Sykora stopped 24 of the 32 missiles fired his way, while Hertz keeper Lance Parker stopped 16 of the 19 shots sent his way.
Rookie Major Ingkharratphithakon was on fire in this game scoring twice in both the first and third periods. In delivering the rare four-goal and five-point performance, the Johnny Oduya scholarship winner earned Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game honours.
Rarely has a game seen such scoring swings as Major with two and captain Jordan Ashton opened the scoring for Hertz in the first; Jesse Starosta, Peak captain Harrison Oztemel and substitute Rob Taylor then brought the game even for Peak before the third-period dominance by Hertz saw Major pot two more with singles going to Mike Wilson, Roman Larin and substitute Mangkorn Sukwiboon.
The second matchup saw the league-leading Novotel Spitfires coast past Aware, 5-1, behind another stellar goaltending performance by Spitfires goalie Yu Cheng (Leo) Liao.
Liao made 26 saves and got plenty of help offensively as Novotel made the most of their scoring chances against Aware’s substitute goalie Juiz Pirapong. The Thai national players sat this game out; meaning Aware was without their regular netminder Pattarapol “Dream” Ungkulpattanasuk.
Novotel took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission on goals by Marcel Bowens and Ernesto Bauer. Scott Murray hammered in Aware’s lone goal of the night with assists from Dave Boere and league-points-leader Corry Day.
The Spitfires kept their foot on the gas in the second period, extending their lead to 4-1 on goals by Mike Freeson and Michael Nightingale. Freeson’s three points on the night (he also had assists on Nightingale’s goal and on Bowens’ first-period score) moved him into the No. 2 spot on the league leaders’ points list.
Bowens capped his night as the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game with a second goal in the game’s final minutes, with assists from Jason Bitter and Homme Thaiyanont. With the win, Novotel extended their record to 9-5, while Aware sunk to 4-10, with just four games remaining in the regular season.