The Elmira Sugar Kings delivered a hefty win against the Listowel Cyclones on Sunday night at the Woolwich Memorial Centre. When the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read 6-2.
After a few weeks of working on special teams in their weekly practices, the Kings capitalized on three of four power plays, two of which came in the first period.
The first goal of the game came off Quinten Bruce’s stick, helped along by Ryan Walsh and Dawson Shackleton, giving the Kings the lead while Cyclones defenseman Kade Landry sat in the box for hooking.
The boys quickly doubled up, with yet another power play goal less than two minutes later from Mackenzie MacSorley, from Ethan Skinner and Mitch Montgomery. MacSorley scored with just a couple of seconds left in the power play, after players took their time, setting up a few shots in front of Listowel’s net.
“I thought the power play units were moving the puck really well,” said Sugar Kings coach Ty Canal. “You could tell they were feeling comfortable. We were rewarded with a couple of goals, and it was good to see. We want to keep the puck moving, and keep it in the system at the same time.”
The second period leaned well in Elmira’s favour, with four more pucks getting past Listowel netminder Wyatt Nicholson. First up, just three minutes in and unassisted, MacSorley scored his second goal of the game and seventh since joining the Kings lineup earlier last month, putting the guys even farther in the lead.
At just six minutes into the second, Zac Coulter buried one, with a little help from Colton Culbert, followed three minutes later by a goal from Ty Biles with assists from Walsh and Jeff Jordan.
The boys decided a five-goal lead just wasn’t enough for them, however, and Shackleton scored the third power play goal of the game, while Listowel’s Holdyn Lansink was keeping the penalty bench warm on fighting, head contact and misconduct penalties.
Canal says he was pleased to see more scoring chances and goals than in previous games. It shows him the guys are improving and know what they are doing when they get on the ice.
“I thought it was a really good team game. Right from the drop of the puck, everyone was playing well,” he said. “When you are rolling four lines pretty much the entire game, that is definitely a positive. Some lines that weren’t getting scoring chances (in other games) were (on Sunday) and in the first two periods especially. I thought all of our lines were taking the defensive zone to the next level which enabled them to play in the offensive zone. It is great to see.”
In the third, the Cyclones decided they couldn’t take it anymore and came off the bench fighting hard. The team replaced the goalie for the last 20 minutes. It proved to be a decent move, as the Kings’ scoring streak was over for the night. They managed to hold on to the win, however, with only two goals against in the third.
“Listowel came out of the third period strong out of the gate and they were able to score on us early,’ said Canal, adding that even with a second goal for Listowel, Elmira held them off. “They got two goals fairly quickly, but our guys were able to rebound from that point on and shut it down, which was nice to see. We knew they were going to come out in the third and play really strong, but we were able to weather it as best they could. After they scored, we were able to calm the game down and get back to the pace we wanted to play.”
The win against Listowel brings the Kings’ record to a decent 11-12-1-4, good enough for fifth in the Midwestern Conference. Ahead of them in the standings are the two teams the Kings will be facing off against this coming weekend – Kitchener and Stratford, sitting at first and second, respectively.
Canal says the boys will be ready for Friday’s game against Stratford, and Sunday’s against Kitchener, but that goes for every game they play.
“I think this whole league is tight and you have to be ready at every game,” he said. “Last weekend, there some times in the game that we were a little bit flat, on our heels. We definitely have to make sure that we are ready this weekend. Both these teams are playing very good hockey and we have to make sure that we are ready to counter and play the way we want to play.”
On Friday night, the Kings will be in Stratford to face the Cullitons for a 7:30 p.m. matchup. The boys will be back home on Sunday afternoon for a matinee play against the Kitchener Dutchmen. The puck drops at 2 p.m.