Peak Biolabs and Novotel earned the right to play for the championship by winning their respective semifinal series.
In the first playoff series, Novotel took out Hertz in a two-game sweep after Hertz earned the right to select their first round opponent by finishing first in the final regular season standings. Novotel took their selection as strong motivation to prove Hertz made a mistake by picking them, as Novotel had finished third in the standings ahead of Aware.
Both semifinal games of the series saw Novotel take control of the game, and when Novotel was able to get a few pucks past Hertz goalie Lance Parker, Novotel netminder Leo Liao shut the door and proved why he was the best goalie in the league all season.
In the other semifinal series, Aware and Peak played the closest playoff series in the four seasons of the SHL. The two teams split the first two games with Aware winning game one and Peak game two, with both games only being decided in the final two minutes. The third and final game was a back and forth affair with Peak pulling it out, again with the game going deep into the third period without a clear winner.
The championship game, between Peak and Novotel, saw a little bit of everything, with Peak getting into penalty trouble pretty much from the opening face-off and the first period seeing Novotel take a commanding 11-1 edge in shots. After Novotel stormed to a 3-1 lead in the second period, Peak was able to tie the game at three in the third, only for Novotel to take the lead back with around five minutes left to play. This lead, they would not relinquish, and with a late empty net goal, Novotel secured the league title with a 5-3 victory.
Novotel forward, and co-goal scoring champion, Mike Freeson had a jaw-dropping five-point game with two goals and three assists, earning him the Sport Corner Playoff MVP Trophy.
The SHL season also ends with a fitting result as Novotel captain Brad Wilson, who is leaving Thailand before the start of next season, capped off his illustrious SHL career with a championship.
Catch a recap of all the action on the SHL Big Chilli podcast at siamhockeyleague.com