Kings pick up just a sin­gle point in pair of games

De­fy­ing ex­pec­ta­tions, Elmira falls to Lis­towel and ties Brant­ford, both firsts this sea­son; team dis­misses coach

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - FAISAL ALI

THERE’S NO SUCH THING as a sure thing when it comes to hockey, and it was a les­son the Kings had to learn the hard way this week­end. Fac­ing two teams they’d pre­vi­ously had lit­tle trou­ble with this sea­son, the Lis­towel Cy­clones and Brant­ford 99ers, the Kings wound up with just one of the four points up for grabs.

The lack of pro­duc­tion likely con­trib­uted to Mon­goal day’s dis­missal of head coach Trent Brown, who was abruptly fired af­ter the week­end’s per­for­mance. Tak­ing over the po­si­tion from Brown is as­sis­tant coach Rob Collins.

Bat­tling the Cy­clones in Lis­towel last Fri­day, Elmira fell for the first time this sea­son to the team cur­rently sit­ting in se­cond place in the Mid­west­ern Con­fer­ence, in this case by a par­tic­u­larly un­set­tling 5-1 score.

On Sun­day, the fourth­place Kings re­turned for a home match against the vis­it­ing sev­enth-place Brant­ford 99ers. What should have been an­other easy two points was cut in half when an ad­di­tional ten min­utes of over­time and an end-of-game penalty shot were not enough to break a 3-3 im­passe be­tween the two teams, each pick­ing up a point.

In a con­fer­ence as tight as this one, with the top five teams within ten points of one an­other, the missed op­por­tu­ni­ties saw the Kings fall to fourth place with 42 points, ver­sus Lis­towel’s 47 in se­cond place. A nor­mal four-point week­end against Lis­towel and Brant­ford would have put the Kings in a di­rect tie with Lis­towel for se­cond place at 45 points each.

Lis­towel was al­ways go­ing to be a tough chal­lenger for the Kings, though, no mat­ter how one-sided the record, but Fri­day’s night’s match proved to be an es­pe­cially rank af­fair for the vis­i­tors. It didn’t start that way, how­ever, and for much of the game the Kings held a nar­row lead over their op­po­nents.

Zack Cameron pot­ted the first goal of the match 19:17 into the first on a power play, with Jonah Bur­ley, Ma­son McMa­hon pick­ing up the as­sist. It would be the only point of the first two frames from ei­ther side, with the Kings able to hold their op­po­nents at bay well into the third at a 1-0 dif­fer­ence.

By the fi­nal stanza, how­ever, the bot­tom seemed to drop out for the vis­i­tors. The Cy­clones ratch­eted up their game se­verely, lodg­ing three goals in quick suc­ces­sion, in­clud­ing two on the power play, to make it 3-1 for the fi­nal few min­utes of play. An­other two emp­tynet­ters were added to end the game at 5-1.

Drop­ping two points to Lis­towel, the Kings might have hoped to make up the dif­fer­ence at their Sun­day mati­nee against the vis­it­ing Brant­ford 99ers. The Kings had beaten the team at all four of their pre­vi­ous meet­ings – in Oc­to­ber by an 8-0 spread – but the 99ers had come pre­pared.

Brant­ford got the first goal this time around. Down two play­ers to the box, the 99ers were none­the­less able to score short­handed at 11:27 of the first, set­ting the com­pet­i­tive tone for the rest of the match. Elmira new­comer Ivan Brewer (Hunter Dubecki) re­sponded min­utes later on a power play to make in 1-1 by the first in­ter­mis­sion.

The se­cond saw the Kings pull into the lead with a goal from Tyson Hil­lier (Brewer, Dubecki) seven min­utes in. Brant­ford re­sponded to make even things up at 2-2, but the Kings again found the back of the net to make it 3-2 at 16 min­utes. The se­cond tie breaker came from An­thony, with Brewer and Dubecki pick­ing up their se­cond and third as­sists of the day, re­spec­tively.

The Kings were up 3-2 go­ing into the fi­nal 20 min­utes of play, but Brant­ford re­fused to give in. Less than five min­utes into the fi­nal frame, Brant­ford once again found the back of the net with their se­cond power play marker to make it a make it 3-3, forc­ing the two teams to set­tle things in over­time. Even then, the stale­mate per­sisted de­spite a few very close calls.

The make-it-or-break-it mo­ment came at the very end of the game, when a hook­ing in­frac­tion from Brant­ford earned the Su­gar Kings a fi­nal penalty shot to de­cide the game. The player tak­ing the shot would be Cameron, Elmira’s top scorer this sea­son with 13 goals in 32 games.

How­ever, Brant­ford net­min­der Frank Boal proved up for the chal­lenge. Cameron chased the puck down for the win, but was sin­gle­hand­edly shut down by the goalie, deny­ing Elmira the vic­tory and end­ing the game as a 3-3 tie.

Though tak­ing a se­vere hit in what ought to have been a four-point week­end, the Kings will have plenty of chances to pull back into the run­ning as they en­ter the fi­nal third of the 50 game reg­u­lar sea­son – though now un­der the di­rec­tion of new head coach Collins.

On Fri­day, the Kings will be in Strat­ford for a 7:30 p.m. game against the War­riors. Sun­day will see the Kings re­turn home for a 2 p.m. re­match against Lis­towel.

Ma­son McMa­hon dur­ing Sun­day’s match against Brant­ford.

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