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