Points give team a good grip on second place; regular season wraps up with games against Waterloo, Kitchener
Winning by a nose on Friday against Stratford. Steamrolling Brantford on Sunday. Dropping a close one to Waterloo the next day. Two out of three ain’t bad, is it?
“If you’re Meat Loaf, I guess,” said Elmira Sugar Kings coach Jeff Flanagan after Monday’s loss at home, referencing the iconic ’70s tune.
“We were not happy with the game today. Are we happy with the games we just played? Yeah, for sure we are.”
The weekend started on a high note last Friday night in Stratford when the boys in green beat the odds against the Cullitons in a 4-3 decision (Stratford won the two previous matches, beating the Kings 4-1 on January 5, and then battering them on February 2 with a 3-0 win).
The two teams were gridlocked in the first period, scoreless as Elmira outshot Stratford 11-8. In the middle frame, it was Adam Campagnolo, assisted by Zac Coulter and Craig Johnson, who got things rolling when he put the visitors up 1-0 at 3:58. The lead didn’t last long, as the Cullitons tied the score less than three minutes later.
The rest of the period belonged to the Kings, however. They fired off three more courtesy of Craig Johnson (Campagnolo, Cash Seraphim) at 6:59, Brad Cobryn (unassisted) at 9:30 and Cobryn again (Campagnolo, Seraphim) at 9:42.
The Cullitons managed to get one back on a late power play, making it 4-2 after 40 minutes. The home team also scored the only goal of the third period, that one a shorthanded effort that beat Hayden Neuman, who stopped 35 or 38 on the night to post the win.
At home on Sunday, the Kings made quick work of the Brantford Bombers in a 6-1 decision. David Savery (Alex Mutton, Stephen Jablonski) scored for the Kings at 1:18. Steven Jakiela (Matt Harding, Cass Frey) followed at 17:20 and coming back for second period Mitch Klie (Savery, Wright) made it 3-0 at 1:25. The opposition scored their first and only at 5:04 and Elmira put three more in the net courtesy of Mutton (Jablonski, Justin Cooke) at 10:03, then Jablonski (Campagnolo, Savery) at 13:52 and Campagnolo (Coulter, Jakiela) halfway through the final frame at 12:08.
After Monday’s game when Elmira fell to Waterloo 4-3, the Siskins remain the only team the Kings have failed to defeat this season.
With no wind in their sail from the start, the Kings took the first hit at 3:22 in the first period. Adam Brubacher (Cooke, Frey) answered at 15:31, sending the teams into the first intermission tied at 1-1. Shots were 13-5 Elmira.
The second period was scoreless, with Waterloo getting the edge in shots, 11-10.
In the third, the Siskins went up by two, potting one at 8:25 and another that would prove to be the winner at 13:22. Elmira’s last attempt came with a late goal at 16:26, a power play marker notched by Brad Cobryn (Brubacher, Coulter).
Though Elmira outshot Waterloo 35-23 overall, many of Elmira’s attempts were misfires, according to Flanagan.
“We didn’t get off to a good start. I think our shots were not coming from the right areas of the ice. We had a decent amount of shots, but in order to score, your shots have to come from inside the dots. That’s Hockey 101. It’s pretty tough to score when a goalie can see the puck and is able to just catch it.”
The game was a good lesson this late in the season, Flanagan noted, adding the overall prognosis for the Kings remains good for the playoffs.
“It’s never good when things go 100 per cent well, 100 per cent of the time: it makes you comfortable and then when you get comfortable you don’t do things as well as you should.”
The Kings finish off their regular season this weekend, starting with one more chance to beat the Siskins when they head down the road to Waterloo Saturday night. A win or even an overtime loss would clinch second place for Elmira (33-9-5/71), who sit six points ahead of Waterloo (31-12-3/65) having played one more game.
The final match of the season comes the following night against the first-place Kitchener Dutchmen (36-7-4/76). Game time is 7 p.m. at the Woolwich Memorial Centre.