Pair of losses see Kings give up goals early and of­ten

Game was over fairly early in 6-1 fi­nal ver­sus Lis­towel, but Elmira man­aged to come part­way back against Bramp­ton

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - FAISAL ALI

IT WAS A FRUS­TRAT­ING weeked for the Su­gar Kings and the fans, as the reign­ing Suther­land Cup champs twice dug them­selves into an early hole they couldn’t climb out of. The re­sult was a 6-1 drub­bing by the Lis­towel Cy­clones last Fri­day and a 4-3 loss to the vis­it­ing Bramp­ton Bombers Sun­day.

In Lis­towel Novem­ber 3, the Kings knew they had a tough time ahead of them. Af­ter pick­ing up an­other pair over the week­end, the Cy­clones sit atop the stand­ings with a 16-3 record, while the Kings (9-10) sit in fourth place. On top of that, Lis­towel had won hand­ily in the pre­vi­ous two meet­ings this year.

It was an ag­gres­sive game with both sides rack­ing up penal­ties. Lis­towel drew the first in­frac­tion, but it was their spe­cial teams that cap­i­tal­ized, scor­ing a shor­tie to take a 1-0 lead. Their power play would make it 2-0 with about four min­utes to go, and the Cy­clones got one more to go into the in­ter­mis­sion ahead by three.

The break did lit­tle to cool off the Cy­clones’ mo­men­tum, how­ever, as the team came out the gate swing­ing. The team scored yet again just 1:25 in. Down 4-0, the Kings were in trou­ble.

Elmira ral­lied, some­what, when Ethan Skin­ner (Ryan Taka­matsu, Ty Biles) sent the puck into the net at 4:02. How­ever, less than two min­utes later the Cy­clones re­tal­i­ated with an­other goal on the power play, putting them up 5-1.

Elmira swapped out their goalie here, trad­ing Tyler Maz­zo­cato for Rhett Kim­mel, but that did not stem the bleed­ing. At 9:19, Lis­towel capped things off, mak­ing it 6-1.

Try as they might, Elmira was un­able to get back into it – there was no more scor­ing be­fore time ran out in the sec­ond. The same was true in the third. At the fi­nal buzzer, the Kings had been out­shot 47-30. They failed to cap­i­tal­ize on any of their seven power plays, while Lis­towel scored twice on 11 chances.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing,”

said head coach Trent Brown.

“We talked about the game plan the week lead­ing up to that Fri­day night, but we couldn’t ex­e­cute it. We didn’t ex­e­cute it. We were flat from the be­gin­ning and we got a les­son in con­sis­tency, a les­son in ex­e­cu­tion, a les­son in cham­pi­onship-cal­i­bre play.”

Back on home ice for Sun­day’s match against the Bramp­ton Bombers, the Kings ended up in a much closer game ... even­tu­ally.

It looked to be a re­peat of Fri­day as the Bombers all but stole the show in the first half of the match, scor­ing re­peat­edly while the Kings strug­gled to play catch-up.

Eleven min­utes into the open­ing stanza, Bramp­ton took the lead. The dis­ap­point­ment on the Elmira bench quickly turned to alarm as, just two min­utes later, the visitors scored again. And then, not a minute-and-a-half af­ter that, they potted their third.

The sec­ond frame looked to be just as trou­bling as the Bombers scored three min­utes in on the power play. Just like on Fri­day, the Kings were again in a 4-0 rut mid­way through the sec­ond and in des­per­ate need of some goals. This time, how­ever, they started to turn the game around.

The Kings pulled their goalie and, with an ex­tra at­tacker on ice, scored their first point of the match at 12:59, with Jeff Jor­dan claim­ing the goal unas­sisted. Then, just 45 sec­onds later, Jere­mey Good­win (Ethan Wise­man and Skin­ner) scored their sec­ond. The boys headed off the ice down by a pair, 4-2.

The third pe­riod was a heated strug­gle as the Kings fought to make up the dif­fer­ence. The crowd cheered then groaned each time the puck ap­proached the Bombers’ net only to be turned away.

In the sec­ond and third frame, the Kings had stepped up the of­fen­sive, pep­per­ing the ri­val side with twice as many pucks as they were re­ceiv­ing. With four min­utes of game time left, one of those shot crept through de­fence as Tyler McBay (Skin­ner, Wise­man) potted the team’s third.

At 4-3, the fi­nal four min­utes turned into a mad dash to knot things up, but Bramp­ton held on to their lead. It was down to the last 45 sec­onds of the game when the Kings called a time­out. This was their last chance. They hud­dled around the bench for some last minute in­struc­tion. Maz­zo­cato was pulled from the net.

The game re­sumed and what re­sulted was a fi­nal as­sault, but to no avail. The clock ran out and the game ended in a 4-3 de­feat for the Kings.

“Yeah, we came out flat,” said Jor­dan af­ter the game.

“We took some penal­ties early, some de­fen­sive break­downs. It re­ally ... cost us the game there. We were down 3-0, so go­ing into the sec­ond it was hard to climb out of. I thought we did a good job in the sec­ond and third try­ing to climb out ... but at the end of the day, that first pe­riod re­ally hurt us.”

The Su­gar Kings will be fac­ing an­other tough set of games this week as they take on the sec­ond­place War­riors (14-4) in Strat­ford be­fore re­turn­ing home for a re­peat match against the Bombers Sun­day at 7 p.m.

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

Elmira net­min­der Tyler Maz­zo­cato in ac­tion at Sun­day’s home game against the Bramp­ton Bombers.

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