Kings nab first win of the season
After a slow start, Tuesday night’s victory in Kitchener brings the team’s record to 2-5
AFTER A SLOW START, going 0-4 to start the season, the Elmira Sugar Kings have won two of their last three games, including a 5-2 win over Kitchener Tuesday night.
The first win of the season came last Friday night in Stratford, where the Kings beat the home team 5-2. The celebration was short-lived, as the team fell 3-2 on home ice to Guelph on Sunday evening.
Still, no one is hitting the panic button just yet. With 10 returning players on the roster who made history by being the first wildcard team to win the Sutherland Cup, they aren’t worried about a challenge, or being the underdog.
“We will be looking to our veterans to get us out of this little rut were in right now, and I have full confidence with some more preparation and attention to detail that we will,” said head coach Trent Brown.
A reoccurring trend during discussion, Brown goes back to the “details.” As a former player himself, Brown has seen teams both on the ice and from behind the bench, and he is happy with the makeup of the current roster – he just wants them to find their stride.
“Our strengths are our forwards. We have a lot of depth up front with guys who can play multiple roles if needed. We have two rookies and five 20-year-olds and a strong leadership group. Our team plays how our leaders play. I believe that’s the same way for any team,” he explained.
The team’s first win of the season September 22 saw Spencer Comelli, assisted by Tyler McBay and Ethan Skinner, and Ethan Wiseman (Ty Biles and Matt MacKay) score early on in the first. Goals were followed by Stratford netting their first of the game at 1:45, answered by Skinner, from Jeremy Goodwin and Wiseman to end the second.
The last period of the game went Elmira’s way, but only after the visitors let the Warriors score a power play goal to bring the score to 3-2. At that point, Biles, from MacKay and Tyler Beauparlant, widened the lead, and Ryan Takamatsu took a pass from Beauparlant to put one in the empty net to seal the deal.
Sunday, the Kings were back at home to take on the Hurricanes, who defeated the team at their own home-opener, only to find themselves shortchanged again despite putting in a stronger performance.
Guelph potted one on a power play midway through the first to get the game started, and was shortly followed by a second Guelph goal. With his team down two heading into the second, Skinner scored from Goodwin and Matt Murray. They were shortly followed by another Guelph goal to extend the visitors’ lead. Elmira’s Mason McMahon (Jonah Burley and Niki Molson) responded, but that was it for the night. Despite pulling their goalie for a lastminute push, the Kings
couldn’t take advantage of the extra man. The game ended 3-2 in Guelph’s favour. Sunday night’s game was disappointing for the coach. “Our effort wasn’t there for 60 minutes and we need to find a way to bring that consistency every night.”
Heading into Tuesday night’s game, Brown said if they wanted to win each player was going to have to have execute their role for the entire game.
“Commitment to detail, our systems are designed specifically for our team. It’s not rocket science either, we think they are pretty straightforward. It’s just execution and being committed to be disciplined enough to execute them every time they are on the ice,” he said.
And it looks like that attention to detail paid off as the team defeated the Dutchmen 5-2 in their own barn – meeting for the first time since the semi-finals last season.
Elmira’s Keanan Stewart led the way with goals in the first and second, and helping Beauparlant out with an assist in the third. The team looks to have found that flow, with two of their goals being scored on the power play, which had struggled thus far in the season.
Stewart’s goal late in the first was answered by Kitchener. Heading into the second, Stewart, from Beauparlant and Takamatsu, scored on the power play. Followed later on in the second by Goodwin, from Jordan and Beauparlant to extend the lead to 3-1. The third saw Elmira’s Beauparlant pull the team ahead with another at 13 minutes in, from Takamatsu, Stewart. Kitchener answered, and were shortly replied by Jordan – on the power play – from Biles and Goodwin to secure the Kings’ second win of the season.
The team is currently sitting at a 2-5 record heading into their game against the Siskins in Waterloo Saturday night.
The Elmira Sugar Kings fell to the Guelph Hurricanes again at home on Sunday after posting their first win of the season two nights earlier on the road.