The Woolwich Observer

Kings bow out of playoffs with game-five loss to Stratford

- Steve Kannon

THE ELMIRA SUGAR KINGS’ SEASON came to an end last weekend with a 3-2 loss to Stratford in game five of their second-round playoff series.

The team had been on the brink of eliminatio­n after going down 3-0 in the series before winning a hard-fought double-overtime match on March 27 to stay alive in the GOJHL postseason.

The Junior B squad had led the Midwestern Conference for much of the year, but a late-season surge by some of their rivals saw the

Kings start the playoffs as the third seed. In the first round, they defeated the Cambridge Winterhawk­s in five games, setting up their meeting with Stratford.

Head coach Corey Prang said the Kings played well in the series, but the young team couldn’t take advantage of its chances, while the Warriors did.

“Personally, I think that we were the better team in four of the five games. Game two, we lost 5-2, but it was a three powerplay-goal game. We had a two-goal lead twice in game three, and then ultimately, they tied it both times and then got the extra one in overtime,” he said.

“I thought we were the better team, but they just seemed to capitalize on power plays when they needed them. I think that was probably the difference in the series when we look back at it.”

Having lost the first three games of the series against the Warriors by increasing­ly smaller margins – 7-0, 5-2, 5-4 – the Kings seemed primed for a close one when the action returned to the WMC on March 27. Such was indeed the case for a team facing the prospect of eliminatio­n.

The first period saw just one goal. Unfortunat­ely for the home crowd, the scoring play was Stratford’s courtesy of a powerplay marker with just over two minutes to go.

That 1-0 lead would last until just shy of the halfway point of the second period when Isaiah Shantz, from Ian Speiran and Brett Warrilow, got the equalizer. Then, with just 14 seconds left in the frame, the Kings took the lead thanks to Brendan Gerber’s power-play goal, assisted by Joey Martin and Liam Eveleigh.

Things got even better for the Kings in the third when they went up 3-1 on Jordyn Ertel’s goal at 9:31, with an assist from Isaac Lorentz. But the Warriors had other ideas. Two goals in a little over a minute late in the period sent the game into overtime locked at 3-3.

The first OT solved nothing, but at 2:33 of the second extra frame, Gerber potted the game-winner, with help from Ertel and Brodie McLeod.

Shots were 51-37 in favour of the visitors. Elmira was 1-2 on the power play, while Stratford went 1-3. Elmira netminder Liam Reid stopped 48 to pick up the win.

That set the stage for game five back in Stratford, where the Kings were hoping to avoid a letdown after the emotional 2OT win to stave off eliminatio­n. It was another close game last Friday night, but the ability to capitalize on a power play proved to be the difference, as the Warriors got two with the extra skater on route to a 3-2 win.

The first period was scoreless, with both teams putting 12 shots on net. The second, however, saw the home side strike twice on the power play to take a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes.

That was extended to 3-0 when Stratford got an even-strength goal just 1:40 in. The Kings pushed back, getting a goal from Martin (Ertel) at 4:15 to get on the board. Luke Della Croce made it a one-goal game when he scored at 13:53, assisted by Gerber, but that would be as close as they’d get.

Elmira outshot the Warriors 35-29, but went 0-2 on the power play, while the hosts were 2-5. Reid stopped 26 in the losing effort.

“We came out really well. I think with a little bit of luck, we probably could have been up three or four after that first period, but that's not the way that I went down,” said Prang.

“Stratford is a good team. They deserve to go on. Looking back at it, I think we were the better team for four of the five games, but they got the wins and it's just the way that it goes.”

 ?? Bill Atwood ?? Jordyn Ertel scores a third-period goal during the Elmira Sugar Kings’ 4 3 overtime victory Mar. 27 at the WMC. Brendan Gerber, Joey Martin and Luke Della Croce in action.
Bill Atwood Jordyn Ertel scores a third-period goal during the Elmira Sugar Kings’ 4 3 overtime victory Mar. 27 at the WMC. Brendan Gerber, Joey Martin and Luke Della Croce in action.
 ?? Submitted ?? The Woolwich Wildcats U15A team travelled to Whitby this past weekend for the OMHA championsh­ips. They went undefeated in all five games, including a come-from-behind third period in the finals against their rivals from Centre Wellington, to capture the OMHA title and the red hat. The team will now compete in the OHF Championsh­ips in Orillia Apr. 19 21. Back row: Kordic Weigel, Brayden Crawford, Nicole Balog, Cruz Balog, Max Krasovec, Jordan Martin, Alex Lloyd, Levi Adams, Mason Gear, Matthew Kochut, Will Krubally, Reese Martin, Emmett Colwill, Carson Kellough, Jeremey Goodwin, Tyler McBay. Front row: Cohen Patterson, Evan Hall, Jaxon McGuire, Rhys Taylor, Colton Brito, Austin Dietrich, Mason Maurice.
Submitted The Woolwich Wildcats U15A team travelled to Whitby this past weekend for the OMHA championsh­ips. They went undefeated in all five games, including a come-from-behind third period in the finals against their rivals from Centre Wellington, to capture the OMHA title and the red hat. The team will now compete in the OHF Championsh­ips in Orillia Apr. 19 21. Back row: Kordic Weigel, Brayden Crawford, Nicole Balog, Cruz Balog, Max Krasovec, Jordan Martin, Alex Lloyd, Levi Adams, Mason Gear, Matthew Kochut, Will Krubally, Reese Martin, Emmett Colwill, Carson Kellough, Jeremey Goodwin, Tyler McBay. Front row: Cohen Patterson, Evan Hall, Jaxon McGuire, Rhys Taylor, Colton Brito, Austin Dietrich, Mason Maurice.

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