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. co­smith@post­media.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.

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