Aware notches first win: Lexicon stays undefeated in SHL week two action

The first game in week two SHL action saw Aware face off against Siam Mandalay, two teams looking for their first win of the season. Unfortunately, for Siam Mandalay, a last-minute injury forced a short bench, and Aware’s full squad took advantage. Aware opened the scoring with a goal from rookie Kelly Shim, cleaning up his own rebound in his first ever SHL shift. Siam Mandalay responded immediately with a great second-effort from Mike Poirier. That tying goal seemingly sparked something for Aware, as captain Harrison Oztemel and star forward Oleg Kabakov each scored two goals to end the first frame 5-2.

Aware would add three more goals in the second period, with both Oztemel and Kabakov completing hat tricks. Siam Mandalay would add two late goals in the third period for sniper Dan Sinaguglia and Ed McConnell, for a final score of 8-4.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Awares-Denis-Omelka-doing-some-ice-dancing-1024x683.jpg
Aware’s Denis Omelka doing some ice-dancing.

Aware’s Swiss contingency of Ernesto Bauer and Mathieu Maillard rounded out the scoring, with Bauer adding a goal and Maillard collecting three assists. Siam Mandalay dynamo Jeff Bonazzo led his team with 3 assists while captain Mike Freeson added a goal and assist as well.

For his dominant offensive play, Kabakov was named the getfresh Player of the Game.

Game two of the evening was between the two teams that won during the opening week. Meaning after the game, there would be only one undefeated team left.  

With both Lexicon Lumberjacks and KCG starting their back-up netminders, the game started slowly, with both teams getting limited quality chances.   

With under four minutes to go in the first period, Finnish Dman Jari Eeerikainen broke the scoreless game with a slapshot that eluded KCG goalie Gabor Toth and just snuck in by the right post.  Thai national team stalwart Kim Aarola got the assist on the tally.  

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Awares-Hideki-Nagayama-about-to-go-airborne-1024x839.jpg
Aware’s Hideki Nagayama about to go airborne

The second period was dominated by Lexicon.  Only a couple of minutes into the middle frame, Lexicon stud Dman Denis Omelka finished a great unassisted individual effort and made the score 2-0 Lumberjacks. Four minutes later, a goal-mouth scramble led to a tap-in for Lexicon captain Justin St. Denis.  The assist on Lexicon’s third goal went to John Schachnovsky.  

The last minute of the second period saw a flurry of activity with both teams scoring.  First, KCG grinder David Boere looked more like the team sniper when he rifled a shot past Lumberjack goalie Lance Parker.  Assists on KCG’s first goal went to Captain Jesse Starosta and Christoph Anliker.

Just when it looked like KCG would go into the second intermission only down by two goals, Peam Jaratwuttipreada gave Lexicon their three-goal lead back after a good passing sequence.  Assists went to Pann Hongswadhi and Adam Williams.

The third period started with five minutes of slow play, and KCG seemed resigned to play out the third and take the loss. But then, with a little under eight minutes to play, KCG switched up their forward lines, and they woke up. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is KCGs-Christian-Anliker-navigates-past-Awares-KIim-Aarola-1024x730.jpg
KCG’s Christian Anliker navigates past Aware’s KIim Aarola

First, with Dman Roman Larin in the penalty box, Alex Phelps picked up the shorthanded goal with an assist from Boere. 

KCG made it a one goal game when Larin, fresh out of the penalty box himself, scored a power play.  Assists went to Alasdair Fawcett and Anliker.

Less than a minute later, KCG clawed all the way back when Brandon Vick gave the puck to Thai sniper Jan Isakson who made no mistake and we had a tie game.

And still during the same five-minute span after KCG’s second goal, they shockingly took the lead when first year Thai-American speedster, Nick Lampson fired the biscuit passed flabbergasted goalie Parker.  The assist went to Starosta.  

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is KCGs-Jan-Isaksson-with-the-puck-1024x694.jpg
KCG’s Jan Isaksson with the puck

Lexicon had no choice but to buckle down, pull the goalie, and play the last three minutes with the same desperation KCG had shown for the previous five minutes. 

With Parker pulled, Lexicon mounted a furious attack, and were finally rewarded with 24 seconds remaining in the game.  After Omelka put the puck in the corner behind Toth, last year’s SHL rookie of the year award winner Roger Promthong slid the puck back to SHL veteran John Schachnovsky who fired a slapshot that found its way to the back of the net. 

Regulation time ended with the score 5-5.  

Overtime started with KCG having some possession time in the Lexicon end.  After a quick turnover, super-sub Thai national team leader Hideki Nagayama carried the puck into the KCG zone and dished the puck to Aarola who sniped over Toth’s arm for the game winning goal.  For his efforts, Aarola was named the getfresh Player of the Game.

Toth made 17 saves on the night, and earning the victory, Parker made 20 saves.

Onlookers to this contest spoke of it being the most exciting SHL game in years, and were excited if this was going to be a harbinger of things to come this season.