The Woolwich Observer

Kings return to top of conference standings

- Steve Kannon

A PAIR OF WINS PUT the Elmira Sugar Kings back in top spot over the weekend, with a three-point cushion over the KW Siskins.

The team also has two games in hand in the GOJHL’s Midwestern

Conference race.

A 4-2 victory in Stratford last Friday night was followed by a 4-0 win over the visiting Brantford Bandits Sunday to run the Kings’ record to 28-8.

“We took care of the stuff that we could take care of, and then we got some help from other teams as well. So it was a good weekend for us,” said head coach Rob Collins of the team’s return to top spot.

On February 25 in Stratford, the Kings ran up a 3-0 lead before the game got close in the third. Aidan Yarde opened the scoring for Elmira at 10:39 of the opening period, assisted by Jack O’Donnell. A minute and a half later, Jack Tos (assisted by Brock Reinhart and Chris Black) made it 2-0, which is how the frame would end.

The only scoring in the second period was an unassisted marker from Elmira’s Liam Eveleigh, a power play goal.

The Warriors made it a game when they scored twice in a 60-second span before the halfway mark of the third period, but that was as close as they’d get. Tos’ second of the night, an unassisted empty-netter, put the game away.

Elmira netminder

Daniel Botelho stopped 18 of the 20 shots he faced for the win. The Kings’ four goals came on 23 shots. The team was 1-6 with the man advantage, while Stratford went 1-9.

“We only got one on the power play, but the penalty kill was terrific. It

was an emotion-filled game, I guess you would say. We got control of it, though,” said Collins.

“They had a bit of a push there in the second period, but with the kids’ composure it never felt as though we lost control and were in any danger of not getting the result we were looking for.”

Back on home ice Sunday, the Kings were facing the last-place Brantford Bandits again after a 9-0 victory seven days earlier. There would be no payback from the visitors, however, as Elmira scored early and often in the opening period to put the game away.

Kurtis Goodwin’s shorthande­d goal at 2:15 of the first period set the pace for a early flurry that put the Kings ahead for good. Assists went to Adam Grein and Owen Duiker. Less than 30 seconds later it was 2-0 on the strength of a goal from Luke Eurig (Eveleigh, Nathaniel Mott), and two minutes after that Brody Leblanc (Mason Eurig, O’Donnell) made it 3-0 for the home team.

Grein rounded out the scoring less than a minute into the second period, with assists going to Goodwin and Leblanc. That 4-0 lead is how things would stand when the final buzzer went.

Shots were 31-10 in favour of the Kings, with goaltender Matthew Lunghi picking up the win. Elmira was 0-2 on the power play, while Brantford was 0-5.

“We got off to a great start to the game and it seemed like it really took the wind out of their sails right off the hop to be up 3-0 five minutes into the game. You’re looking at Mount Everest, if you’re Brantford, after that,” said Collins of the match.

The Bandits get another shot at redemption Saturday night, as the Kings travel to Brantford (6-30-2). The team is back home in Elmira Sunday night to welcome the Caledon Bombers (14-19-0-2). Game time is 7 p.m. The Listowel Cyclones (14-183-1) are at the WMC for a midweek tilt Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.

“Caledon and Listowel, those are two teams that play us hard. Listowel shut us out the last time we played, and they’re playing well right now. We’re going to have to be focused,” said the coach of the games ahead.

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