Warriors come up short
Sugar Kings score shorthanded in final seconds of third period to beat Stratford 5-4
It was one of those games that looked ripe for a win, but the Stratford Warriors found a way to lose.
Ryan Takamatsu’s shorthanded goal with 20 seconds left in the third period gave the Elmira Sugar Kings a 5-4 win Friday night at the Allman Arena and handed the Warriors their third straight loss.
“Not that the whole thing was any one guy’s fault, but I do feel bad about that last turnover,” Stratford captain Jack Scanlan said. “Elmira is a good team. They’re really smart, they’re really disciplined, and they have an excellent power play. Even though I thought we played really well tonight, there’s always little stuff we can do to win those games that are always gonna be that close.”
With the Warriors on a power play in the final minute, it was Scanlan’s turnover at the Sugar Kings blue-line that allowed Jeff Jordan to get the puck to Takamatsu, who skated in alone and snuck the puck past Ruan Badenhorst.
It’s been that kind of stretch for Stratford, which broke out of a two-game scoring slump but struggled on special teams against Elmira. The Sugar Kings had three power-play goals and a handful of other shorthanded chances.
“There’s lots of little things we can do,” Scanlan said. “You have to give credit to Elmira though. Skinner and his unit is excellent. They’re very hard to defend.
“For us it’ll be a little systems stuff, kind of tailoring it to the team we play next.”
Curtis Abbott had a goal and two assists for the Warriors. He opened the scoring 1:16 into the game as Stratford created several chances early but couldn’t get another shot past Tyler Mazzocato until Connor Gregga made it 2-1 at 8:17.
Kaleb Pearson and Graham Brulotte, with a snapshot over Mazzocato’s glove, also scored in the loss. Scanlan noted the importance of the Warriors finding their “grit game” and playing more consistently to turn things around.
“A little bit of adversity is good for every team,” he added. “We’re not looking at this as a slump. We’re just looking at it as an opportunity to have another peak again. In all honesty I would rather have this stretch of three games lost earlyish in the regular season than the second or third round of the playoffs. I’m glad we’re addressing the issues we have to address now, and we’ll be a better team for it.”
Ethan Wiseman scored twice for the Sugar Kings, who snapped their own two-game skid and won in Stratford for the second time this season. Takamatsu, Jeff Jordan and Jeremy Goodwin had the other goals. Ethan Skinner picked up four assists.
“It was good to see (special teams) break out a little bit,” Elmira head coach Trent Brown said. “It’s a tough barn to really have a lot of creativity in, so our mentality here was get pucks to the net, get pucks to the net and our shooters had the good eyes tonight.”
Badenhorst made 23 saves, while Mazzocato stopped 36 of 40 shots.
NOTES: Goodwin looked like he had tied the game in the first period, slipping the puck past Badenhorst’s right pad on a breakaway, but he crashed into the Warriors goalie and took the net off as the puck crossed the line. The referee waved it off immediately ... Skinner hit the post on a 2-on-0 after the Warriors were unable to score on a prolonged two-man advantage in the second period ... Warriors F Sean Ross was taken into the net late in the second period and left the game. He appeared to be clutching his left hand or wrist but returned to start the third period ... Attendance was 1,098 ... Stratford is in Listowel Sunday afternoon at 1:30 ... The Cyclones are riding an eight-game win streak after their 6-4 win Friday over Kitchener. Cullen Mercer had a hat trick, and Mitch Deelstra, Blake Nichol and Tommy Hoogars added single markers. Holdyn Lansink had a pair of assists. Sean Kawalec led the Dutchmen with two goals and an assist, while Ben Morris and Carter Lennon also scored. Listowel goalie Max Wright made 23 saves, and Kitchener counterpart Riley Daniels stopped 34 shots ... In St. Marys, the Lincolns fell 4-2 to Strathroy. Dalton Bancroft and Tyson Kielt scored in the loss. Bancroft added an assist. Emmet Pierce scored twice for the Rockets. TJ Harris and Cameron Rombouts had the other goals. Tristan Lewis made 31 saves for St. Marys. Strathroy goalie Zack Weir made 30 saves. email@example.com
Stratford Warriors forward Dylan Lebold gets his stick on a shot headed towards Elmira goalie Tyler Mazzocato during the first period of the GOJHL game Friday night at the Allman Arena. Elmira won 5-4.