The SHL contests on Sunday November 8th saw the SHL’s two top teams continue their winning ways as KCG defeated Siam Mandalay 5-2 in game one, and the Novotel Spitfires beat Aware 4-3 in a thrilling match in game two.
Siam Mandalay was missing two of its key players Mike Wilson and Yean Thannakrokiet, the latter due to the death of his grandfather. Thai national team star Hideki Nagayama was subbing in for Wilson but Yean’s absence was announced just before game time and a quality sub couldn’t be found in time. KCG was missing Mat Siegel and Mel Dhiranusomkit and subbed in Phu Suwacharit.
KCG exploded out of the gate and caught perplexed Siam Mandalay keeper Dream Ungkulpattanasuk off guard as they stormed to a 4-0 lead with Jan Isaksson, Winnie Luckanatinakorn, Jesse Starosta and Phu Suwacharit all finding the back of the twine before Hideki scored for Siam Mandalay making it 4-1 KCG heading into the first intermission.
Describing the action for SHL TV, longtime SHL keeper Lance Parker said, “Jan Isaksson scored the opener low blocker side and had quite a celly, putting his hockey stick in an invisible holster with supreme satisfaction.
“KCG’s 2nd and 4th goals came off of rebounds that got popped into the net while Dream was down and out. Starosta’s goal was old school cutting across the front of the net and shooting the puck the other way. For Siam Mandalay, Hideki scored a beauty on Leo coming in off the wing unmolested, backhanding the puck up and over Leo’s glove hand bar down and in off the top corner.”
Iskasson added his second goal of the game, with a toned-down celly, for KCG late in the second period and Turner Johnson continued his strong start scoring for Mandalay early in the third making it a 5-2 final.
Unfortunately, KCG captain Harrison Oztemel accidentally hit Siam Mandalay star player Patrick Forstner knee-on-knee in the third period drawing a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct. Oztemel apologized after the game but poor Forstner just can’t buy any luck as he keeps getting hit with one injury after another.
Isaksson continues to impress and now has four points in two games earning himself the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game for his spirited performance. Leo Liao earned his third win of the season in the KCG net.
The second game was a classic as Novotel jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Major Ingharratphithakon and captain Mike Freeson. But SHL president John Schachnovsky brought Aware with one scoring a power play tally early in the third period. Mike Freeson then stole the puck from an Aware player in the neutral zone and streaked down the right side to send the puck past aware goalie Gabor Toth making it 3-1 Novotel.
Aware then dug in, determined to not go down 0-4 in the early season as Masato Kitiyama and Romas Larin scored within two minutes of each other to tie the game at three (Larin’s marker earned him the Jerky Monster play of the week award). Then with time winding down, just as it looked like the game would head into overtime, Ken Kindborn went to work, skating coast to coast with ease dropping the puck past a stunned Toth keeping both Novotel’s winning and Aware’s winless streak going.
Mike Freeson was the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game and Novotel has a number of players who just are not fazed by stress; if anything, they tend to rise to the occasion. Freeson, Tomas Stastny and Ken Kindborn just seem to find a way to win no matter what the score.
SHL action continues on Sunday, November 15th with Novotel taking on Siam Mandalay at 9pm and Novotel and Aware facing off against KCG at 10pm. Novotel’s Ken Kindborn leagues the young season in scoring with 11 points followed teammate Mike Freeson, and KCG’s Jesse Starosta and Harrison Oztemel all tied for second spot with eight points each.