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 Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - FAISAL ALI

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.”

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

The Elmira Su­gar Kings played an elec­tric game against the vis­it­ing Bramp­ton Bombers last Sun­day at the WMC, post­ing an 8-5 vic­tory.

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

The vic­tory on Sun­day ex­tended the Kings’ streak to three.

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