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

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - ALI WIL­SON

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.

[ALI WIL­SON / THE OB­SERVER]

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.

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