SHL games on Sunday, March 28th saw KCG extend Aware’s misery, beating them by a score of 5-1, while Siam Mandalay brought Novotel down to earth with a 7-4 pounding.
Game one saw three young Thais (Punn Phasukkjwatana, Peam Juratwuttipreeda & Winnie Luckanatiakorn) score for KCG in quick succession giving the team a 3-0 lead going into the first intermission. Punnie scored his second goal of the game early in the second before Aware’s rookie-of-the-year candidate Roger Promthong broke Leo Liao’s shutout bid later in the same stanza. KCG captain Harrison Oztemel added an empty-net goal making it a 5-1 final.
It should be noted that Aware did outshoot KCG 35-24 in this contest, they just couldn’t get any breaks and KGC keeper Leo “the Great Wall of Taiwan” was a big part of that winning the Jerky Monster play-of-the week for his huge save on Masato Kitayama early in the game.
After the match, Aware defenseman Roman Larin announced that he would be leaving the team to return to his native Russia.
Punn Phasukkjwatana earned himself the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game award for the first time in his career with his three-point performance (2G, 1A).
In game two, French-Canadian Seb Verdy continued his stellar play this month staking Novotel to an early 1-0 lead but it was all downhill from there for the Spitfires as Siam Mandalay struck for three quick goals from Mitch Morrison, sub Win Khuhakaew and Mike Wilson taking a 3-1 lead into the first intermission. Darius Konotopetz, centrepiece of the Crash Line, made it 4-1 early in the second, and then Ken Kindborn narrowed the lead to 4-2 but Jordan Ashton scored for Siam Mandalay making it 5-2 heading into the final stanza.
Siam Mandalay’s Homme Thaiyanont made it 6-2 early in the third; Novotel’s Major Ingharratohithakon made a valiant effort trying to bring his team close scoring two goals within 21 seconds later in the third, but Mike Wilson, scored an empty-netter, his second goal of the night, to make it a 7-4 final.
Aside from Major’s late heroics, Siam Mandalay dominated this game and it was very apparent how much Novotel misses defender Christoph Anliker, out with injury, who really takes a lot of pressure off of Kindborn.
Siam Mandalay captain Jordan Ashton led his team to victory and was awarded with the Rolling Stone Pizza player-of-the-game award for two-point performance (1G, 1A) and game-winning goal.
After sixteen weeks of action, the Novotel Spitfires sit atop the SHL standings with a 13-3-0 record for 26 points. KCG sits in second spot with a 10-3-3 record for 23 points. Siam Mandalay is in third position with a 8-7-1 record for 17 points and Aware is in the cellar with a 1-15 record for 2 points.
The SHL scoring race still sees Novotel claiming the top three spots with Tomas Stastny at 32 points, followed by teammates Mike Freeson with 21 points and Ken Kindborn with 30 points. KCG teammates Jan Isaksson & Patrick Forstner are in fourth and fifth place respectively with 27 & 25 points each.
Barring COVID-19 restrictions SHL action resumes at the Imperial Samrong on April 18th with KCG playing Novotel at 9pm and Siam Mandalay facing off against Aware at 10pm. Top spot is still up for grabs, although the Novotel only has to win one game to claim that prize, and then it can choose its playoff opponent.
For more information on the SHL check out Dom Dumais great podcasts and interviews with SHL players.