A slow start didn’t stop the Elmira Sugar Kings from bagging a 3-0 win over the Guelph Hurricanes on Sunday at the WMC. The win put the team’s record at 2-1 after the second weekend of the young season.
In the first frame the Hurricanes and Kings seemed well matched defensively, with neither team managing to score. Things picked up in the second when Brady Campbell took a feed from Jake Weidner before snapping the puck past Hurricane goalie Lee Doherty to score the first goal of the game at 14:35.The Kings followed that up with a last-minute goal to end the period, sending them into the room on a high note. It came courtesy of Adam Brubacher, who eyed another chink in Doherty’s armor, scoring glove side just 45 seconds before the buzzer.
“[The Hurricane’s] goalie was still in the middle and didn’t slide over to the left yet and I just saw the opening and tried to hit it,” he said after the game.
The Hurricanes attempted to rebound, inflicting a more intense attack on the Elmira net but to no avail with goalie Hayden Neuman blockading the net from Guelph’s onslaught.
Campbell would go on to score the last goal of the night, five minutes into third period, as a cross-ice pass from Weidner deflected in off of his skate. It was the topper to a fine night for the new recruit, who notched his first two of the season.
“I hadn’t scored yet this year – it was nice to get a couple. Weidner was feeding me the puck so I got a little lucky there, too,” he said of his performance on Sunday.
The Sugar Kings beat out Guelph not only in scores but in offensive tactics with 60 shots on net overall to their 32. Kings head coach Dean DeSilva said the game-changer came in the second period with the Kings holding back a two-man advantage by the Hurricanes:
“I think that 5-on-3 penalty kill. When we killed the penalty it just gave a huge momentum shift, took a little bit out of them, and we were able to come back and capitalize on the power play,” he said, adding that the team successfully carried out its game plan. He also praised the penalty killing of forwards Rob Kohlie and Matt Harding.
“We wanted to capitalize off of turnovers and we were able to do that tonight and the specialty teams both did a great job both ends: killing penalties and scoring on the power play,” DeSilva explained after his team scored two power play goals.
The Sugar Kings have responded well to training, according to the coach, with strengthened defensive play paying off. Younger rookie players are seeing the results of heeding the coaches’ advice and becoming confident in the leadership.
“I think these guys are buying into everything that we are trying to teach, and when they are buying in and they have all the success with it its that much easier for us to teach it and sell it to them.”
The coaches are becoming more confident in the players as well. The progression of younger players on the team is a pleasant surprise for DeSilva, who sees a steady improvement in players who are starting to earn their keep on the team.
“I thought Pat McKelvie and Mitch Atkins and Adam Dauda did great for three young players. It was a great job right from the defense on out, I can’t find fault in any player that we have tonight.”