Novotel tops KCG to remain undefeated

Photography by Tadamas Nagayama

The first game on Sunday November 1st saw the SHL’s two undefeated teams face off for the first time this season, and when it was all played out the Novotel Spitfires defeated KCG 3-2 in a thrilling match that was only decided with 47 seconds remaining on the clock. The first part of the game saw the teams feeling each other out like two prize fighters in a title bout as Novotel staked itself to a 2-0 lead.

Novotel captain Mike Freeson breaks in on KCG goalie Leo Liao.

Early in the second period, Ken Kindborn feed Novotel captain Mike Freeson with a beautiful mid-ice pass as Freeson streaked down the ice, and made no mistake drilling the puck past KCG keeper Leo Liao on a breakaway. Then on a powerplay, with a minute left in the second stanza, Mangkorn Sukwiboon fed veteran Scott Murray with a beautiful pass and Murray used the screen in front of Liao to bury Novotel’s second goal.

Four minutes into the third period Jan Isaksson went to work. Just out of quarantine, the Thai-Swedish star was playing in his first SHL game and definitely made his presence felt with his aggressive play and stickhandling display. Isaksson scored KCG’s first goal four minutes into the third and then set up Jari Eerkainen with 59 seconds on the clock to tie the score.

Novotel’s Tomas Stastny poised for a deflection in front of the KCG net

But 12 second later Mike Freeson fed Tomas Stastny flying down the left side and he buried his fifth goal of the season with a seeing–eye shot that left KCG keeper Leo Liao handcuffed. Spitfire goalie Ben Kleineschay won the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game earning his second win of the season, stopping 17 shots as the Spitfires remained undefeated. Freeson earned himself the Jerky Monster play of the week for his set-up pass. Christian Olofsson subbed for Novotel who were missing Christoph Anliker, Ralf Dittmer and an injured Andrew Ross.

In the second game, Siam Mandalay beat Aware 3-1. Dream Ungkulpattanasuk earned the win in his first start of the season, stopping 19 shots and earning the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game. Dream was hurt playing for the Big Bulls in the BIHL final and had been hobbling ever since. Gabor Toth made 12 saves in the Aware net as his squad lost their third straight. Don’t count this team out yet though as captain Justin St Denis has two SHL titles under its belt and the defense led by Thor Chartsuwan, Roman Larin and Denis Omelka is a force to be reckoned with. They also have speed up front with Masato Kitayama and SHL rookie phenom Roger Promthong.

Aware’s Brandon Vick prepares to face off against Siam Mandalay’s Patrick Forstner

Nonetheless, it was a big win for Siam Mandalay who had all their players in uniform for the first time this season. Patrick Forstner, Tan Limpinphet scored second-period goals to give Siam Mandalay a 2-0 lead heading into the second intermission. Aware captain St Denis brought his team close with his fourth goal of the young season 2 & ½ minutes into the third period, only to see Yean Thanakroekkiat reply for Siam Mandalay two minutes later making it a 3-1 final.

SHL action continues on Sunday November 8th with and Siam Mandalay taking on KCG at 9pm and Novotel facing off against Aware at 10pm. Novotel’s Ken Kindborn leagues the young season in scoring with 2 goals and 8 assists followed by KCG’s Jesse Starosta with seven points on two goals and five assists while Harrison Oztemel and Mike Freeson are tied for third spot with six points each.

Aware goalie Gabor Toth looks for the puck (under you) in a goalmouth scramble.

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