The Elmira Sugar Kings continued their roller coaster season last weekend, this time on a downward plunge, dropping games to Guelph and Brantford.
The Kings allowed 17 goals over the weekend, losing an 8-6 decision to the Guelph Dominators Dec. 13 and going down 9-1 to the Golden Eagles the following day.
Coach Geoff Haddaway called the weekend’s results “extremely disappointing.”
“You lose two games, especially the way we did on Sunday, and you certainly can’t be pleased.”
A stronger defensive effort was needed, he said, from every player on the team – forwards, defence and goaltender.
Despite outshooting Guelph 55 to 33 and converting on four of 14 power plays, the Kings couldn’t hold off the Dominators, who came hungry for payback after the 7-4 drubbing the Kings handed them the week before.
Kyle McNeil, Trent Brown and Jon Jutzi scored power play goals and Philip Teri added a shorthanded goal to give the Kings a 4-2 lead in the first period.
In the second frame, Guelph came back with four unanswered goals to make it 6-4 before Bill Terpstra added another power play goal for the Kings.
The Dominators piled on two more points in the first minutes of the third period. As the clock wound down, Teri scored his second of the game but the Kings couldn’t make up lost ground and the game ended 8-6.
On Sunday, the Kings faced off against Brantford, the team currently leading the league with 59 points.
The Kings got off to a tough start against the Golden Eagles, allowing four goals in five minutes. Luke Van Moerkerke notched all four goals – one of them on a power play – with assists from Brock Smith and John Szasz.
At that point Haddaway sent Jake Williams between the posts in relief of Brandon Wysman.
Brantford scored once more in the first frame, with Justin Prittie (Van Moerkerke, Szasz) notching a fifth goal at 12:24.
The Kings peppered Brantford’s Dan Savelli with shots in the first, especially on a five-on-three power play, but didn’t climb on the board until the last two minutes of the period. Brent Freeman finally scored on the power play, knocking the puck in on a feed from Josh Ranalli and Kyle McNeil. The team headed to the dressing room down 5-1 at the end of the first.
Brantford racked up three more goals in the second period, starting with Ryan Moore’s power play goal at 10:25. At 14:11, Prittie scored his second of the game, and Matt Mascarin bagged another power play goal less than two minutes later.
In the third period, Matt Garbowsky capped things off with a shorthanded goal at 13:35, making the final score 9-1.
“There were large stretches of the game on Sunday where I thought we controlled the play,” Haddaway said. “From about halfway through the first to late in the second, we were competing with them evenly. Then we gave up a bad goal and that seemed to demoralize us again.”
“We were too easy to play against the other night. We have to get back to the way we do things. We’re a team that has to focus for 60 minutes; we can’t get away from our game plan at all. When we play our game we’re successful.”
The Kings will be looking to get back on the upswing again when they face off against Listowel Sunday in Elmira. The puck drops at 2 p.m.