Sugar Kings fans left disappointed on Sunday night as the Elmira squad lost 7-2 to the visiting Waterloo Siskins.
They managed to pull a 6-5 overtime win out of their away game in Guelph the previous night. Despite finishing the first period with a 4-0 lead against the Hurricanes, the Kings were put to the test for the next 40 minutes.
Goal scorers in the first were Zac Cameron, Ethan Skinner, Zac Coulter, and Alex Peterson. Picking up the assists were Klayton Hoelscher, Ty Biles, Coulter, Mackenzie MacSorley, Skinner (2), Ryan Walsh, and Colton Culbert. Filling in from the Waterloo Wolves, this marked Cameron’s first Junior B goal.
“We had a good first. Obviously we got up and them scoring early in the second sort of put us on our heels for some reason. It almost seemed like we were gripping the stick too much. We were afraid to make a mistake and then obviously any mistake we made they were able to jump on us and able to bury it,” said head coach Ty Canal.
Guelph lessened the gap with two of their own less than five minutes into the second frame from Chris Poletek and Ryan Burns, assisted by Ryan Waterhouse, Cameron Palmer, and Quinn Hanna.
They brought the score to within one when Guelph’s Dylan Wallace (Cameron Stokes, Tyler Burns) put one past Sugar King goalie Jonathan Reinhart.
Exactly one minute later Coulter scored his second of the night to give the Kings a two-goal lead, assisted by Skinner and MacSorley.
Guelph fought back to score just 13 seconds later. Lucas Dybowski (Ryan Burns, Sebastian Stangherlin) picked up the goal.
And at the end of the final period Ryan Burns scored on a penalty shot to take the game into overtime. Reinhart was called for delay of game, giving Guelph the opportunity.
Fortunately, Elmira’s win was secured by a power play goal from Skinner in the overtime period, assisted by Coulter.
“It was definitely a frustrating game. The two points was nice. It’s the way that we played to get it wasn’t exactly how we wanted, especially when we’re chasing them,” Canal said.
Guelph and Elmira have both already clinched playoff spots, but Canal says it would have been nice to beat the fourth-place team. The Kings are in fifth, and are six points behind the Hurricanes.
And on Sunday the Kings just couldn’t seem to get things rolling.
Canal says it seemed like they weren’t competing like they needed to or have in the past. They were giving up too many scoring chances and shots and not controlling the play. The Kings managed 28 shots, while the Hurricanes sent 43 shots to the Elmira net.
“It’s something that we’re definitely going to have to work on. We definitely can’t take nights off. Games are going to be tough and especially going forward it’s going to be a battle and it’s going to be tough to squeeze out points. Just not having the work ethic was probably the toughest to watch,” Canal said.
They drew first blood as Skinner (Coulter, Beau Goehrum) scored seven minutes into the game, but that’s the only lead they’d have. This goal was also Skinner’s 100th point as a Sugar King. Waterloo’s Brett Schaefer, helped by Ryan Sparkes and Joel Penticost, tied the game at 1s some two minutes later.
The Siskins dominated the second period, putting back three goals, while the Kings were unable to change their side of the score board.
Waterloo goal scorers were Lucas Goodman (Austin Bentley), Joshua Slegers (Andrew Lane, Owen Kipke), and Anthony Pullicino (Kipke, Bentley).
Coulter gave Elmira fans some hope with a 5-on-3 power play goal early in the third, assisted by Skinner and MacSorley. This marked his 200th point since joining the Sugar Kings.
That was the last time the Kings would score, as goals from Lane (Nate Schnarr, Conner Jean), Goodman (Pullicino, Bentley) and Schaefer (Nick King, Thomas Haffner) sealed the deal for Waterloo.
“We definitely have confidence in the team and confidence in who we have in the lineup. We couldn’t gain any momentum after that first period in Guelph. The rest of the weekend it was a battle, it was a struggle. As much as I don’t like saying it I’d rather it happen yesterday than this month. Hopefully it’s a learning curve for these guys, knowing that we can’t take any nights off, and it is a 60 minute game no matter what happens,” Canal said.
The triple-digit point achievements for Skinner and Coulter show what type of players they are, Canal says. This is Skinner’s second season with the Kings and Coulter’s fourth and final season.
“They’re offensively gifted and that just shows you the type of work ethic that they do put towards coming to the games ready each night. It takes that hard work and dedication to be successful and that’s what they were able to do. It’s good for them to see it on a personal level, for sure,” Canal said.
He says the team will be working on fine tuning this week and making sure they’re ready to play some good hockey against Cambridge and Brampton this weekend.
Their Sunday game will also be their annual charity game. They’ll be accepting food donations for Woolwich Community Services, and auctioning off the game-worn jerseys after the game, with all proceeds going to WCS.
The Kings head to Cambridge to take on the Winter Hawks for a 7 p.m. tilt on Saturday. They’re back in town on Sunday for a 2 p.m. puck drop versus the Brampton Bombers.