KINGS BOUNCE BACK WITH THREEGAME STREAK
After digging themselves an early-season hole, the defending Sutherland Cup champions looking to get back on track
THE SUGAR KINGS WERE in fighting form this weekend, winning twice to put them on a three-game streak.
The team played first against the Waterloo Siskins on their home turf Saturday evening, winning 6-4. The day after, Elmira welcomed the Brampton Bombers for another evening matchup and came out with an 8-5 win in what was actually a close game.
The Sugar Kings dominated the middle section of their tilt with Waterloo Saturday, racking up point after point, but suffered on the tail end of the game.
Forward Ethan Skinner potted Elmira’s first at the eight-minute mark on a power play, assisted by Jeremey Goodwin. That would be the only point of the frame.
Going into the second period with a 1-0 advantage, the Sugar Kings bulldozed the competition over the next 20 minutes with one goal after the next.
“Against Waterloo ... we got off to a really slow start and we didn’t end the game the way we wanted to at all. We played very well for 20 minutes of hockey. That second period we played good Sugar King hockey – we were lucky to get away with two points based off 20 minutes of solid play,” said head coach Trent Brown about the game.
Keanan Stewart (Kurtis Goodwin, Harrison Toms) scored to make it 2-0 in the first ten seconds of play. At the seven-minute mark, Ryan Takamatsu potted their next, assisted by Zack Cameron and Spencer Comelli. A minute-and-a-half later, Matt MacKay (Tyler Beauparlant) put the team even farther ahead.
Rounding out the period, Ethan Wiseman (Goodwin, Niki Molson) scored Elmira’s last of the frame with 2:30 left on the clock, giving the Sugar Kings a 5-0 lead and all but assuring their victory. The Siskins, however, fought back with their first goal in the second frame at the 18-minute mark.
Opening the third frame 5-1, the Sugar Kings seemed all but unreachable – even more so when Cameron netted the team’s sixth goal of the game just two minutes in, with Ryan Takamatsu and Jeff Jordan lending assists. But then the reversals started happening.
The rival team scored their second goal three minutes in, and then their third at 10:54. A minute later, they scored again on the power play, quickly narrowing the gap and setting the scoreboard at 6-4 for the final eight minutes of the game.
The Siskins pressed on and, in the final few minutes of play, pulled their goalie for some extra firepower, but to no avail. The game ended with the Sugar Kings maintaining their two-point lead and coming out on top. Despite the win, coach Brown says what the team was lacking was consistency: “the full 60 minute effort.”
The problem they had, he said, was with “starting the game on time. The game starts at 7:30 in Waterloo here and I don’t think we got started until quarter after 8.”
On Sunday evening, the Sugar Kings hosted the Brampton Bombers for an electrifying game. It was anyone’s guess who might win, with the both teams taking turns holding the lead.
“We started off well against Brampton and then, you know, we had a good second period but we didn’t close out the game,” noted Brown.
The Kings drew first blood with Jeff Jordan (Cameron) scoring in the first three minutes, setting the stage for the first of a series of dramatic reversals. The Bombers scored next, 13 minutes in, and then again at 16:49, swinging the game back in their favour.
Opening the second period, the Bombers scored yet again at the two-and-a-half mark with a power play, putting the Sugar Kings at a 1-3 deficit. But the Kings recuperated.
Jeremey Goodwin (Ethan Skinner) potted the Kings’ second point at five minutes, and then MacKay got their third with an unassisted point, setting the two teams dead even.
At 12 minutes, Goodwin scored again with Wiseman and Skinner’s assistance, pulling the Sugar Kings into the lead. But with five minutes left on the clock, Brampton caught up with a point of their own. The scoreboard was at 4-4 for only a moment, however, as Skinner grabbed one more point for the Kings, this time assisted by Goodwin and Matt Murray.
Starting the third frame at 5-4, the Kings widened the gap with Harrison Toms (Takamatsu, Cameron) scoring just minutes in. Brampton fought back with a goal of their own, closing the distance halfway through the frame, setting the stage at 6-5 for a close finale.
Brampton pushed back through the Sugar Kings’ keen defences. With only three minutes left Matt MacKay (Tyler Beauparlant, Ty Biles) scored yet again, pulling the Kings further in the lead at 7-5. Desperate to knot things up, the Bombers pulled their goalie in the final eight seconds of the game, in a gambit that allowed Takamatsu to rush the puck down into an empty net, with Harrison Toms lending the assist, capping the game off at 8-5.
The wins were a sorely needed windfall for an Elmira team that started the season with a string of losses. Even with the victorious weekend, the team is sitting tied for fourth place in the Midwestern Conference with a record of 4-5. Atop the standings sit Listowel and Stratford, which stand at 7-1 and 6-1, respectively.
Despite the recent success, Brown sees plenty of work ahead.
“Our commitment is to win,” he said. “We want to win as much as we can and we want to put ourselves in the position to win every game. It doesn’t matter if it’s the third game in three nights. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first game of the week or game seven of the Sutherland Cup finals. We want to put ourselves in a position so that we can win the last game of the year.”
The Elmira Sugar Kings played an electric game against the visiting Brampton Bombers last Sunday at the WMC, posting an 8-5 victory.
The victory on Sunday extended the Kings’ streak to three.