Pair of decisive wins and a loss that easily could have gone the other way make for a good week
As the old saying goes, “Home is where the heart is,” and that’s especially true for the Elmira Sugar Kings. The boys in green were on the road last week, unpacking a 6-1 clobbering of the Brantford 99ers on February 6, then stumbling 4-3 against the Waterloo Siskins on February 8, but rebounded on home ice the next day, beating the Listowel Cyclones 5-1.
Chalk it up to home-ice advantage, perhaps.
“I think there might be a little bit of a comfort level,” said head coach Jeff Flanagan after Sunday’s game. “We’re at home, we’re at our own lockers, and guys can get here whenever they want and do their routine.”
He added, “It’s a team thing, as well as a community thing. I know other teams don’t like coming here because it’s a tough place to play – we have good fan support.”
The Kings came out strong against the Brantford 99ers on February 6, with Brad Kobryn (assists, Justin Cooke, Cash Seraphim) potting the first goal at 5:33 and Cooke (Brett Parsons, Mitch Klie) following at 13:21. The second period also belonged to Elmira, with Alex Mutton (Cass Frey) scoring at 0:57 and Seraphim (Brodie Whitehead, Adam Campagnolo) expanding the lead at 4:54.
Brantford managed a goal at 4:12 in the third period, but Elmira made up the difference and then some, with Mitch Wilkins (Whitehead, Eric Palazzolo) and Klie (Stephen Jablonski, Frey) scoring at 11:05 and 14:07. The Kings also dramatically outshot their rivals 51-20 throughout the game.
But the Kings weren’t in vintage form on Saturday when they faced the Siskins on Waterloo ice. Mitch Wright (Adam Brubacher, Palazzolo) scored first at 13:17, but Waterloo countered at 13:44, 17:04, and 4:36 in the second period. Against this intimidating lead, Mitch Klie (Palazzolo, David Savery) got the Kings back in the game at 19:37. Waterloo scored again 45 seconds into the third period, but while Kobryn (Seraphim, Savery) managed a late goal at 7:26, it wasn’t enough to salvage the game.
“We actually thought we played well and made very few mistakes. Unfortunately, the mistakes we did make ended up in our net,” said Flanagan.
“Our gap wasn’t great; coming through the neutral zone we weren’t great; we gave up a lot of odd-man-rushes, which they scored two goals off of. We think we scored enough to win, but we weren’t good enough defensively.”
Maybe it was something in the pink jerseys, but the team staged a comeback on Sunday, rallying a decisive win against the Cyclones for their Pink the Rink charity game.
The Kings wasted no time getting on the board, with Wright lobbing a pair of goals at 1:34 in the first period and 10:10 in the second. The Cyclones had their first – and, it would turn out, only – goal at 12:21, but the third period was all Elmira. Kobryn (Savery, Campagnolo), Seraphim, and Campagnolo (Whitehead, Kobryn) scored at 0:34, 13:02, and 17:45 in the last period to push the lead to 5-1.
While the Cyclones rank at seventh place in the league, Flanagan had plenty of praise for the Listowel rivals.
“They’re very young, and they haven’t had a lot of success in winning games, but they never give up and they’re extremely quick. Any time there is a bobbled puck, they’re on the offense immediately and they forecheck hard. You have to be really good against them.”
In Stratford Friday to take on the Cullitons, the Kings have a rematch with the 99ers on Sunday at the WMC. In a special Family Day matchup, the Waterloo Siskins come to town Monday. Both games are set for 2 p.m.