Busy week­end sees Kings win two, take point in OT loss

Af­ter bull­doz­ing Bramp­ton to start the ball rolling, Elmira bat­tles Siskins to 7-4 de­ci­sion then drops tight match to War­riors

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - FAISAL ALI

IT WAS SOME­THING OF a marathon week­end for the Sugar Kings, as the Elmira team took on three op­po­nents in con­sec­u­tive nights.

First up on Fri­day, the Kings were on the road to Bramp­ton to face the Bombers. They proved not to be kind vis­i­tors, storm­ing to a 9-1 vic­tory. On Satur­day, the Elmira team was back at home, where they wowed fans with a 7-4 knock­out against the Water­loo Siskins. The day af­ter saw the Kings hit a bit of a wall, fall­ing 4-3 in over­time to the Stratford War­riors at the WMC.

Still, five out of six points is noth­ing to sneeze at, and for head coach Trent Brown, the week­end’s per­for­mance showed the team’s strong po­ten­tial this sea­son.

“It was pretty good. We’re start­ing to see guys play­ing the right way, do­ing the right things the way that we want to do them. Be­fore it was just flashes, but with us be­ing about a quar­ter of the way through the sea­son, you’re start­ing to see it from top to bot­tom,” he said.

Bat­tling against the Bombers in Bramp­ton Fri­day, the Kings had this game de­cid­edly in their pocket, scor­ing the only two goals of the first pe­riod to take a lead that would never be in jeop­ardy.

The first goal came at 8:57 off the stick of Jere­mey Good­win (Brody Wa­ters, Ma­son McMa­hon) on a power play. The sec­ond found its mark a minute be­fore the pe­riod closed cour­tesy of Hunter Dubecki (J. Good­win, James Va­lente).

Elmira was up 2-0 by the first 20 min­utes, and the in­ter­mis­sion did lit­tle to cool off their mo­men­tum.

At 6:25 of the sec­ond frame, Tyson Hil­lier (Ma­son McMa­hon, Har­ri­son Toms) pot­ted the team’s third. Dubecki fol­lowed min­utes later with his sec­ond of the match, a power play marker, with J. Good­win and Har­ri­son pro­vid­ing the as­sists.

It was at the 12-minute mark that Bramp­ton fi­nally got some re­venge. A power play marker from Bombers’ for­ward Hughie Shep­pard turned the game into a 4-1 af­fair – not enough to make a dent in the Kings’ lead, but just enough to can­cel Elmira goalie Rhett Kim­mel’s shutout bid.

The goal was quickly coun­tered when Elmira cap­tain Damian Figueira (Ty Biles, Dubecki) slammed the one into the net at 16:43, end­ing the frame with the Kings up 5-1.

The fi­nal pe­riod saw the Kings add an­other four goals to the board, while al­low­ing none in re­turn. Dubecki (Brody Wa­ters, J. Good­win) pot­ted his third at six min­utes, again on the power play. Toms (McMa­hon, J. Good­win) fol­lowed suit mo­ments later on the power play. J. Good­win next got his sec­ond of the match, this time on an unas­sisted short-handed play at 14 min­utes.

The fi­nal goal of the match came with less than a minute on the clock, from Zack Cameron (Biles, Figueira), end­ing the game at a 9-1 spread.

Head­ing into Satur­day’s home game against the Water­loo Siskins, the Kings seemed to carry all their mo­men­tum over from the pre­vi­ous night. The Siskins were the top team of the di­vi­sion un­til re­cently, and cur­rently sit in third place, just ahead of Elmira. Still, the Kings proved more than a match for the dom­i­nant team of the di­vi­sion, earn­ing a 7-4 de­ci­sion.

The Sugar Kings were the first to find the back of the net in this game as well. Nine min­utes in, a power play marker from Wa­ters (J. Good­win, McMa­hon) tilted the game in Elmira’s di­rec­tion – but the Siskins weren’t back­ing down with­out a fight.

Water­loo knot­ted it up at 1-1 just sec­onds af­ter Water’s open­ing salvo.

J. Good­win re­tal­i­ated at 14:12, with Wa­ters and Kur­tis Good­win this time lend­ing a hand. Water­loo again re­sponded in short or­der, mak­ing it 2-2 just 20 sec­onds later.

That’s how it stood go­ing into the first in­ter­mis­sion. But less than 40 sec­onds into the sec­ond, the Water­loo team took the lead.

Elmira’s Cameron (Wa­ters, Hil­lier) tied it up again at 8:55, and Jak­son Kirk (Luke Is­rael) put the Kings in the lead again just 27 sec­onds later.

But like a game of leapfrog, the Siskins again tied up the score at 4-4, which was again bro­ken by an­other power-play goal from Wa­ters (Dubecki, Toms) be­fore the pe­riod closed.

It was still a one-point game when the third pe­riod rolled around, and the Kings were hold­ing onto a pre­car­i­ous 5-4 lead. How­ever, it was all Elmira in the fi­nal frame. McMa­hon scored an unas­sisted goal at 1:40. An­thony Az­zano claimed the fi­nal goal of the match with a shorthanded, unas­sisted marker on an empty net at 18:08. The fi­nal score for the Kings’ was a de­ci­sive 7-4.

With two solid wins in a row, the Kings seemed all but un­stop­pable as they headed into their fi­nal game on Sun­day. How­ever, the Elmira team fi­nally met their match in the Stratford War­riors, fall­ing 4-3 in over­time.

This was the third time the Kings had faced Stratford and lost, and the sec­ond match of theirs to be set­tled in over­time.

It was Stratford that took the lead this time, pot­ting not one but two goals in the first be­fore Elmira had a chance to re­spond. It was Dubecki who pot­ted the team’s lone goal of the frame, 14 min­utes in, with Biles and Cameron pick­ing up as­sists.

The sec­ond frame saw both team’s put an­other on the board, ef­fec­tively can­cel­ing each other out. First Stratford scored three min­utes in on a power play. Much later, with only 20 sec­onds left on the clock, Jonah Bur­ley (K. Good­win, Az­zano) re­sponded with a power play goal.

Stratford was in the lead 3-2 by the fi­nal stanza. Ul­ti­mately, it was Elmira’s Is­rael (Az­zano, Brock McKen­zie) that put the Kings back on an even foot­ing, bury­ing one at 3:50. There would be no more scor­ing in the third, forc­ing both teams into over­time to set­tle the dif­fer­ence. Af­ter four min­utes of ex­tended play, it was Stratford’s Sean Ross that sealed his team’s vic­tory.

“Five out of six points is fan­tas­tic,” said Brown of the week’s tally. “We re­ally could have, and wished we could have, fin­ished off with six points.”

With an all-round ex­cel­lent show­ing from the Sugar Kings over the week­end, the lo­cal team will be hop­ing to carry their mo­men­tum through this week’s set of matches. On Fri­day, the Kings face the top-ranked Cy­clones for the first time in Lis­towel, start­ing at 7:30 p.m. On Sun­day, the Kings will be back home for an­other match against the Bombers at 7 p.m. Fi­nally, Tues­day evening will see the Kings hop over to Kitch­ener for an­other 7 p.m. match against the Dutch­men.

With a record of 13-20-1, the Cy­clones may be the tough­est chal­lenge the Kings (9-3-0-3) face this com­ing week.

“They’re feel­ing good,” said Brown. “They’re play­ing well, ob­vi­ously, and you don’t win that many games in a row with­out do­ing ev­ery­thing pretty well, or very well. So we’re go­ing to have to make sure that we’re pre­par­ing this week for that chal­lenge.”

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