The Flying Farangs Shine in Singapore

The Bangkok Flying Farangs took a road trip to Singapore for the Brewerks Cup Feb. 26-29 looking to build on past performances. The Farangs had success the previous two years winning the Championship in 2002 and the Maple Leaf Cup in 2003. This year’s tournament was filled with top-flight teams such as Hong Kong, Tokyo and the Euro-Stars of Singapore. Back in November, The Flying Farangs won the Consolation Championship of their own tournament, however on this trip they were missing top forward Jeff Lamantia and key defensemen Teemu Erickson and Guy Manchuk. However, after exhaustive training sessions, Coach Scotty Murray was able to once again put together a competitive team. The 2004 Singapore tournament team was built on young, fresh legs with a few veterans added in for a little toughness.

The first game saw the Farangs face off against pre tourney favorites and arch rivals the Hong Kong Selects. The Farangs have struggled against HK in previous meetings and this result was no different. The Farangs came out flat and seemed tired from the flight down. Team play was sloppy and sluggish and the HK Selects took full advantage, upending the Farangs 4-0. The Hong Kong team was very strong, led by Rolf Beutel, Tom Barnes and Greg Smyth. Throw in a few other ex junior players and even one NHLer and the Farangs were quickly heading back to their hotel to recover and
get some sleep.

This year’s official team hotel was the Robertson Quay Hotel located right on the Singapore River. This conveniently located hotel was given a thumbs up by the whole team thanks to the generosity and spirit of the hotel’s manager who went out of his way to help the team in every area.

The next day would prove crucial to the Farangs who were facing must win situations if they expected to make the top-flight playoffs. The first game would not be easy as the team faced last year’s tournament runner up, the Singapore Storm. The Farangs took the ice at 10AM and things started badly right away. The Storm jumped ahead 1-0 and top defenseman Robert Kennedy went down early with a knee injury. However, the Farangs never quit and sparked by the play of Michael White tied it up 1-1. The Storm continued to pound away in the offensive zone, out shooting the Farang 27 to 18 in the 1st period. Jason Cotsmire was on his game making save after save and kept the team close. Finally the Farangs got a break when young rookie, Buffalo Ben fired a slap shot in the upper corner to take the 2-1 lead. The defense led by Scotty Murray, Kevin Hall, Shawn Kelly,
Jason White and Samrit Meeraphan, recently called up from the Grizzly Bears, kept all loose pucks out of the Farang goal until Mike White scored his second goal of the game into an empty net. Cotsmire stole the show stopping a total of 45 shots and allowing the Farangs to steal the win.

The Farangs had a two-hour rest and were gearing up for the tough yet unknown Qatar Canucks. Coach Scotty Murray made a brilliant move, slotting top forward Jamie Marriott back to the depleted defensive corps. The Farangs got off to a quick start taking

a 3-1 lead. However the Qatar team battled back and tied it up 3-3. The never say die attitude of the team once again roared from the bench as the Farangs stormed back to win going away 6-3. Jamie Marriott’s two goals and two assists led Bangkok while Michael White added two more goals to his tournament tally. Shawn Kelly and Scott Whitcomb pitched in one a piece to put the game away. Once again Cotsmire providing the steadying influence in the defensive zone. This game was critical because the team now controlled its own destiny and with a win against their final round robin opponent,
Singapore Continental, the Farangs would advance to the semifinals of Division A.

By this time, the Bangkok Flying Farangs had built up some momentum and Coach Scotty Murray expressed surprise at how quickly one of the youngest teams in the tournament had started to gel. Murray was also pleasantly surprised to witness the intensity and emotion that his team was playing with. The Farangs had no real superstar, just a bunch of grinders, and were playing with pure heart and determination. They were executing brilliantly and were fighting until the final buzzer sounded in every game.

Their next opponent, Singapore Continental, was not a team to be taken lightly. Although winless in the tournament so far, Continental was giving every team a run for its money and keeping games close. However, the Bangkok team had the edge and was riding a wave of momentum. This game was big…win and you’re in!

Continental came out in a blaze of fire but was quickly extinguished when Jamie Marriott set up Scott Whitcomb to give the Farangs an early lead 1-0. From there the floodgates opened up as the Farangs cruised to a 7-3 win. The gamed ended in great fashion when veteran player/coach Scotty Murray dipsey doodled across the Offensive zone to deke the Continental goalie right out of his shorts for a score. Many fans called it the goal of the tournament and it had the few NHL scouts in attendance scribbling furiously in their notebooks. Scott Whitcomb’s hat trick and two assists, Buffalo Ben’s two goals and Marriott’s four assists was all that was needed to push the Farangs into the top division. Jason White stepped in from his blueline to punch in a goal as well.

So the round robin portion of the tournament was over and the Bangkok Flying Farangs had advanced in to the Semifinals of Division A where they would face the mighty Tokyo Canadians. The other semifinal would feature the Dubai Mighty Camels versus Hong Kong Selects.

The Farangs went home to have a few chasers and were feeling mighty good and ready for an evening of drinking. In the city state, eyes are always upon you so it was no surprise that the Singapore Press reported that a couple of the Farangs had walked out of the bars with a lady boy. The article did mention that when the two Farangs stepped outside and saw the woman more closely they realized the bar was pretty dark and the woman’s voice was even louder than previously thought.

The semifinal would be the Farangs most difficult game of the tournament. Never the less, the Farangs were feeling good because they had tied Tokyo 2-2 in their last match in Bangkok. However this time around Tokyo was better than ever and would not be surprised. Assistant Coach Guy Manchuk mentioned before the game that they were ready and the Canadians were ready, but the game was over before the Farangs knew what hit them…final score Tokyo 8, Bangkok 1. By the end of the first period, The Farangs were already trailing 6-0. At the urging of Assistant Coaches Manchuk
and Kennedy, the team played the second period as if it were a new game, losing only 2-1 for the period to make it an honest game. Jamie McDonald got rid of the goose egg and capped off the tournament with a nice breakaway goal.

The Bangkok Flying Farangs showed a lot of compassion and guts throughout the tournament. This collection of grinders displayed an incredible work ethic and never gave up. Cotsmire was solid and the two call-ups from the Grizzly Bears, Bas and Thak, played great while making their first appearance with the Farangs. This was a great tournament for the Farangs who once again proved they are a team on the rise. Even without some of their top players, the Farangs managed to make it to the semifinals.

In a tournament to remember there were many highlights including: Cotsmire’s stunning 45 save performance against the Singapore Storm, Scotty Murray’s breakaway goal, Michael White’s sensational performance in game two, Marriott’s sensational playmaking, Whitcomb’s hat trick, McDonald’s stifling work in the corners, Buffalo Ben’ s game winning slap shot and the gutsy performance from the Thai rookies Bas and Thak.

Furthermore, who can forget the mystifying and dazzling performance from Kevin Hall, Jason White, and Shawn Kelly and Robert Kennedy. They were true blue collar workers as they blocked shots, grinded in the corner and fired away from the blue line. Finally Singapore will always be remembered for Kennedy’s phenomenal drinking performance, the wonderful breasted Hooter’s girls, Shawn Kelly’s amazing sunglasses and the delicious chips at Dubliner’s.

Article Written by
Scott Whitcomb #91
March 4, 2004
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