The Elmira Sugar Kings had a solid weekend, playing three games over three nights and defeating both Brampton and Caledonia but losing a hard-fought battle against Waterloo.
Elmira’s Brady Campbell, Jake Weidner and Patrick McKelvie each potted a goal. Campbell got his team on the board at 12:57 of the second period. That was followed by Weidner six minutes later to give the Kings the edge.
McKelvie’s goal would come late in the third period with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
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The Bombers were led by Matt Capicotto, who scored the team’s only goal. Capicotto made his mark 5:45 into the second period to give Brampton a short-lived 1-0 lead.
The Kings ran into serious disciplinary problems during the contest, racking up 35 minutes in penalty time with five minors and one major resulting in Craig Johnson being ejected from the game.
Elmira goaltender Hayden Neuman recorded 22 saves for Elmira while Brampton’s Bryan Raymond stopped 28 shots out of the 31 that he faced.
“We didn’t have our best game. It is a tough building to play in for us but the boys came out and stuck to our game plan and maybe didn’t execute it as well as we would have liked to but we came away with two points. Any time the team can do that on the road you have to be happy with that,” said Dean DeSilva, head coach of the Kings.
The next night the Kings hosted the Waterloo Siskins at the Dan Snyder Arena. The Siskins took a 3-1 lead during the third period only to have Elmira storm back late with a goal by Campbell. The comeback attempt was not enough for the Kings, as Waterloo played defensively for the remaining five minutes of the game to take the win.
The 3-2 final tally was not indicative of Elmira’s chances, as the team fired 71 shots on the Waterloo net.
Waterloo kept Neuman much less busy, forcing 35 saves on 38 shots.
“That was a tough game and it always is against Waterloo. Part of me can say you throw over 70 shots on net you should get more than two goals, but I can’t fault the effort the guys had. Waterloo worked hard and had a couple of bounces go their way. We hit some posts and didn’t get some bounces, and Waterloo’s goalie made some big saves for them,” said DeSilva. “There are going to be games were you feel you deserve to win but are not going to win and then there are games that you should not win but come away with two points. That is all part of a long season and part of the learning process for the boys.”
On Sunday night, the Kings relied on the top-notch performance of goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood between the pipes to grab a 4-1 win over the first-place Caledonia Corvairs.
Caledonia was first on the scoreboard when Matt Quilty netted one less than two minutes into the first frame. It would be the team’s only goal, however.
The Corvairs managed to keep the lead well into the second period, when Campbell broke away with the puck from his team’s blue line and skated down the ice before beating Caledonia netminder Justis Husak high to the stick side.
The teams returned to the room tied 1-1 going into the third frame.
During the first 40 minutes of play the Kings ran into serious disciplinary problems and relied heavily on their penalty kill unit, as they spent 30 minutes in the sin bin between the two periods. However, Elmira did manage to stifle Caledonia’s power play and did not give up a single goal while down a man.
Returning to the ice both teams fought hard looking for the advantage and it would be Elmira’s Brandon Stewart who would add to the tally with a wrist shot from just inside the blue line beating Husak high left to make the score 2-1. Campbell provided the assist.
Kings forward Zac Coulter would add another late in the frame to give the boys in white and green a 3-1 lead.
Caledonia would pull their goaltender giving them a 6-5 advantage in the dying minute of the contest but could not capitalize. With less than ten seconds remaining James Mildon would feed Campbell who sent a shot down the ice into the Corvairs open net for a final tally of 4-1.
“Six games in nine nights are tough on the team. The leaders on the team really stood up and the younger guys saw things like (Campbell) blocking a shot with his foot and (Stewart) getting a quick release so the leaders were doing what they had to do and the young guys are learning from that,” said DeSilva.
The Kings are on the road next against the Listowel Cyclones before returning home on Sunday to take on the Brampton Bombers at the WMC for an afternoon game. The puck drops at 2 p.m.