After seeing their season-high 12-game winning streak come to an end on Dec. 2, the Elmira Sugar Kings looked to start a new one with back-to-back home games last weekend.
But it wasn’t to be.
Last Saturday, the Kings doubled up on the Brampton Bombers 6-3, while the Waterloo Siskins returned the favour in a matinee on Sunday with a decisive 8-4 victory.The Kings and Bombers split their two previous match-ups leading into Saturday night’s game. And while the two teams sit at opposite ends of the GOJHL Midwestern Conference standings (the Kings in first with 43 points, the Bombers in eighth with 16 points), Elmira head coach Jeff Flanagan says he doesn’t take any team lightly.
“Brampton works really hard so you’ve got to be able to capitalize where you can, be ready for hard forechecks and for the most part, we did that,” he said. “We let in a couple goals early that we would’ve liked to have back. So we didn’t play very well in the first, but it got better in the second period. We were even better in the third.”
Kings defenceman Adam Brubacher opened the scoring at 3:37, with assists from Sam Harris and Cash Seraphim, but the Bombers notched the next two.
In the second, the Kings scored two power play goals, the first by Alex Mutton (Harris, Mitch Wright), and the second by Seraphim from Eric Palazzolo and Klayton Hoelscher to regain the lead.
Veteran Brodie Whitehead added an insurance marker at 13:48 in the final frame (Harris, Wright), and Seraphim (Mitch Klie) and Jamie Huber (Ethan Skinner, Mutton) both added goals of their own during the last minute of play.
Less than 24 hours later the Kings were in tough against the Waterloo Siskins.
“I thought we were really good in the first period, while the second period was kind of up and down,” Flanagan said. “Then we started to have penalty troubles and that certainly turned the tide.”
First period goals by Mutton (Zac Coulter, Skinner) and Seraphim (Palazzolo, Jonathan Reinhart) gave the home side a 2-1 advantage after twenty.
Mutton extended the lead at 7:27 into the second (Brubacher, Coulter), but the visitors would score the next six goals to build a 6-3 cushion with just over ten minutes remaining in the third period.
Wright scored on the power play at 17:27 (Coulter, Mac Clutsam), but that was as close as they would get, as the Siskins sealed the deal with an empty netter less than a minute later.
The three power play goals the Kings surrendered were a big factor in the loss, Flanagan said.
“We took some retaliatory penalties and hard work penalties and they have a good power play and they capitalized. I would say our penalty kill has been pretty good up until today. (Waterloo) has some really good shooters. Two of their goals were five-on-five where their guy rolled off the wall and just picked the top corner; you just can’t give a good shooter that opportunity.”
He added, “In the defensive zone, we had a couple bad switches, but it’s an easy fix with some repetition.”
On Friday, the Kings travelled to Brampton’s barn for a rematch. The boys return home for a Sunday afternoon tilt (2 p.m.) against the Guelph Hurricanes at the WMC.