The top two Junior B hockey teams in the Midwestern Conference battled out a close game on October 26 in Elmira, but the Sugar Kings came out victorious over the Kitchener Dutchmen.The Kings won 4-3 in a game where the Dutchman made a solid comeback in the third period, but weren’t able to secure a tie to force overtime.
Head coach Jeff Flanagan said his boys played really well.
“Kitchener has been playing extremely well as of late and we knew it was going to be a tough game,” Flanagan said. “And we thought we generated some good scoring chances and getting four goals was pretty good.”
Both goalies stopped everything that came at them in the first period, leaving the score at nil going into the second. The first goal of the evening came from Elmira’s Zac Coulter at 6:18, with assists from Adam Brubacher and Mitch Wright.
“Jon Reinhart played well in goal, he made some good saves at key moments to keep things going our way,” Flanagan said. “After the game when talking with the coaches we thought it was one of our better games that we played this year.”
Kitchener’s Nick Trecroche (Philip Moser, Jordan Delaurier) followed with one of his own at 8:25. Sugar King Mitch Wright ended the period with a power play goal, assisted by Mac Clutsam and Coulter.
“Our power play has been struggling since the start of the season,” Flanagan said. “That was nice to get a goal and we’ve been working hard on it. It’s good to see the players see some positive come out of that hard work.”
Coulter started the third period just as he did the second, bringing the score up to 3-1 for Elmira. He was assisted by Clutsam and Mitch Klie, just 46 seconds into the final frame. Cash Seraphim (Ethan Skinner, Clutsam) added to the scoring party at 6:00.
The Dutchmen made a valiant effort to turn things in their favour, scoring twice in the final frame. But they’d end the game one short of the equalizer. Kitchener’s Jacob Cascagnette (Sean Allen, Moser) and Connor Cole (Keegan Calder, Adam Kawalec) on a power play late in the game were the goal scorers.
Sugar King Alex Mutton was taken off the ice by his teammates after being injured in the third period.
“He took a puck on the side of the leg, it’s just a bruise but it was a hard shot and it caught him where there was no padding. I expect he’ll be in for the weekend,” Flanagan said.
More than 615 fans came out to the game, with a healthy group of Dutchmen supporters, despite the Kitchener Rangers game being played at the same time at the Aud.
Flanagan said they did a decent job of cutting down on odd-man rushes against, which is something they’ve been working hard on because odd man rushes often create scoring chances. He said their defense zone was on point as well and they’ve cut down on giving up opportunities high in the offensive zone.
“We’re focusing on some face-offs. We didn’t think we were great on our face-offs this weekend so we want to work on that and get some more structure into that part of the game,” Flanagan said. “We try to touch on the notes we have from the weekend. We’ll stick to our plan.”
He said the coaches have a set plan of skills and systems they want to work on throughout the season and they’ll stick to that plan.
Elmira sits in second place in the league with a record of 10-3-1, trailing only Kitchener (13-3-1).
In conjunction with Random Act of Kindness Day, all adults who show up to the November 2 game in a costume will get in for half the price of admission. Kids 12 and under wearing a costume will get in for free with a paying adult. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.
Following a Halloween matchup in Guelph, the Kings return home to face the Brantford 99ers at the WMC for Sunday’s game. The puck drops at 7 p.m.