Sugar Kings fall to Cullitons in spirited, penalty-filled match
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Sugar Kings fall to Cullitons in spirited, penalty-filled match

Rob Kohli looks to make a pass during the Kings 9-2 pounding of the Brantford 99ers at the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena on Nov. 2. [Scott Barber / The Observer]

Is a meeting between the Kings and the Cullitons ever uneventful? Evidence pointed towards a ‘no’ after last Sunday’s game at the Woolwich Memorial Centre. Blood was spilled and the gloves came off more than once as Stratford brought their best effort to defeat Elmira 4-1 in a game that did not want for intensity, rivalry and speed.

Blood was spilled and the gloves came off more than once as Stratford brought their best effort to defeat Elmira[Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
Blood was spilled and the gloves came off more than once as Stratford brought their best effort to defeat Elmira [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
“Whether it’s here or in Stratford, it’s always a tough battle. They have a quick-transition team and they never give up, they play right to the end,” said Kings head coach Jeff Flanagan.

Stratford took the lead early in second period and kept it, as the Kings missed several key attempts on the visiting team’s net. Flanagan noted his team came up a bit short in their play.

“We could have capitalized on some of our chances. We didn’t have a great net-front presence and we didn’t get a lot of pucks through, as many as we’d like to. We need to be in that net-front area more.”

An early goal in the opening period was definitely not a sign of good things to come for the Kings. With Elmira on a power play, Brad Kobryn scored at 4:19, assisted by Adam Campagnolo and Adam Brubacher, but that would be all she wrote for the home team. At 14:01, the Cullitons tied the game at 1-1 before heading back to the room. Shots were 12-9 in favour of Stratford.

The intermission failed to cool off either side, as the second period was a raucous one that kept the officials hopping. Where it counts most on the board, Stratford racked up two more goals.

Elmira’s Mitch Klie and Stratford’s Carter Allen earned five minutes and a game misconduct for fighting at 9:19. Less than five minutes later, David Savery and the Culliton’s Tyson Baker suffered the same fate. The disjointed, penalty-filled middle frame saw Stratford outshoot the Kings 12-8.

The Kings stepped up their attack in the third – eventually outshooting Stratford 12-5 – but couldn’t beat netminder Nicholas Caldwell despite another pair of power plays. The Culliton defence thwarted attack after attack, keeping the Kings to the perimeter.

It was a chippy affair again, with Campagnolo suffering an injury to the face when a wayward puck sent him sprawling on the ice. A final goal at 18:48 capped the visitors’ 4-1 victory.

Stratford’s sixth place conference standing means little to Kings general manager Paul Jennings, who says the opposition brought their A-game on Sunday. When the two teams meet, it’s anybody’s game. The Kings faced the Cullitons in two previous matcheds this season, with Elmira winning 9-3 in September 22, then 2-1 on September 27 and 2-0 on November 22.

“They always come to compete, every night. It’s a big rivalry: they always bring their best game when they come to Elmira.”

On the road in Cambridge Saturday night to face the Winter Hawks, the Kings return home Sunday to welcome the Guelph Hurricanes. Game time is 7 p.m.

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