After decimating Cambridge and Brampton the previous weekend, the Elmira Sugar Kings were unable to carry that momentum into the Family Day weekend, losing to both Kitchener and Listowel.
Elmira was full of energy in the first period on Sunday versus the Kitchener Dutchmen, carrying the play for the first 10 minutes. But at 10:14 Kitchener’s Jason Willms, sent one past Jon Reinhart to open the scoring.
Taite Wirschke and Marselis Subban picked up the assists.
“I did think we came out of the gate pretty well actually,” said head coach Ty Canal. “I thought we did have some momentum, we had some shots. We were able to cause some turnovers and then for whatever reason the opposite happened.”
Quinten Bruce tied up the game for the Kings three minutes later, assisted by Klayton Hoelscher and Rob Kohli.
Dutchman Matthew Cruickshank, helped by JD Sterne and Willms, gave them back their lead, and then Willms scored late in the period, shorthanded and assisted by Austin Gaboury to head into the second period ahead 3-1.
Defenseman Kevin Fitzpatrick picked up Elmira’s second and final goal of the night early in the second on a power play, assisted by Bruce and Jeff Jordan.
Kitchener’s Nicolas Munro (Owen Lane) added another to their side of the score board in the second.
“You give a team like Kitchener room and space and time, they’re a good hockey team so they were able to capitalize on that and unfortunately we got behind a little too much and then just couldn’t fight back. I thought we had a little bit of a fight in the second and third, but just obviously not enough to get the score closer than what we wanted,” Canal said.
And there was no comeback in the third for the Kings, as the Dutchies sunk three more goals to take the game 7-2. Goals were scored by Ryan Migliaccio, Cruickshank, and Ryan George. Picking up the assists were Cruickshank, Logan Schmidt (2), Migliaccio, and Willms.
Ethan Skinner was awarded a penalty shot, but Dutchman net minder Luke Richardson blocked it.
“It’s just some little things that when you’re playing a good hockey team they cost you. A couple of missed checks in the d-zone or you lose a guy or there’s a turnover at the wrong time for a odd man rush, you know that type of little stuff that you can control. I think we had some power play goals on us too. Penalties, they can swing a hockey team and you’ve got to make sure that you don’t put yourself in that type of situation,” Canal said.
On Monday the Kings travelled up the 86 to take on the Listowel Cyclones. They managed to tie the game up twice after falling behind, but weren’t able to make that third time’s a charm. The game ended 6-3 in Listowel’s favour.
In the first period Elmira couldn’t get on the board, as Cyclones Brady Anderson (Jamie Huber, Austin Huizenga) and Huber (Jordan Caskenette) gave Listowel the 2-0 lead.
“It was a tough weekend. I think we had one of these a couple weekends ago, but you’ve got to take something good out of them and I think the one thing that we can is when everybody’s going and everybody’s doing the little things together, I think we can play some consistent hockey,” Canal said.
Power plays were the Kings’ best friends in the second frame as both Rob Kohli and Zac Coulter found their mark on power play opportunities, tying the game at 2-2. Helpers were Coulter, Mackenzie MacSorley, Fitzpatrick, and Skinner.
Huber scored his second of the night for Listowel in the third while Ryan Walsh was still sitting out a late second period penalty for slashing. MacSorley gave the Kings their third goal of the evening three minutes into the period unassisted to even the score again.
“We tied it up in the second there on the power play and then we had some momentum obviously. We turn around, take some more penalties, and give them momentum again and then we just couldn’t get back that goal again when we needed it,” Canal said.
But Elmira came up short on their penalty kill, allowing two more power play goals for a total of three in the third period. Anderson and Caskanette scored, helped by Huber (2) and Keaton Willis.
The Kings pulled goalie Liam Devine to add an attacker, but Anderson managed to score on the empty net making it a hat trick for him. Huber and Caskanette assisted.
Huber was traded to Listowel after playing the 2014-2015 season with the Kings. So far he’s racked up 30 goals and 44 assists for the Cyclones this season.
“Hopefully our guys can see when everybody’s playing we can play some pretty good hockey and it’s just a matter of making sure everybody gets on the same page,” Canal said.
This week’s practices will be about getting back to basics and preparing for another round of weekend play, with hopefully a better result.
“You’ve almost got to start from scratch again. We’ve got two new teams this weekend and just refocus and go over the things that make us a successful hockey team and run with it and be ready. Especially in the playoffs you’ve got to have a short memory. And hopefully our guys are able to do that this week as well,” Canal said.
Ethan Skinner was awarded the GOJHL offensive player of the month for January at Sunday’s game for posting six goals and 15 assists in 10 games.
“He had a great month obviously and he’s played well for us. It’s nice to see you do get some recognition. I think the guys like to see that too and when his line mates or other guys on the team see a guy on our team be successful, I think they definitely have something to do with it obviously. He’s played very well for us all year and we’ll definitely need everybody come the playoffs,” Canal said.
The Kings head to Stratford on Friday to take on the Cullitons at 7:30 p.m., followed by a home game versus the Waterloo Siskins on Sunday. The puck drops at 7 p.m. at the WMC.