The Elmira Sugar Kings ended the Thanksgiving weekend on a high note, defeating the Stratford Warriors 3-1 for the third time this season, after falling to the Cambridge Winter Hawks 4-2 on Saturday night.
On the road on Oct. 8, the Kings were unable to overcome the Winter Hawks. Cambridge’s Ryan Shaw scored the only goal in the first period. Matt MacKay and Jacob Rooke assisted.
Elmira captain Jeff Jordan used a power play opportunity to tie up the game for his team, assisted by assistant captains Jake Brown and Quinten Bruce.
“We weren’t really skating, we weren’t really using each other effectively. We were sort of scrambly and running around. It was just one of those games nothing was working,” head coach Ty Canal said.
The Winter Hawks put two more in the net to finish the second frame ahead. Jordan Oshowy (Ty Jackson, Mathieu Mercier) and Shaw (Adam Pys, Kole Scott) scored.
A power play proved fruitful for Cambridge in the third as Mercier scored, assisted by Liam Buckley and Corson Searles.
Elmira’s Klayton Hoelscher earned his first goal of the night some 17 seconds later, with assists from Zack Cameron and Kyle Soper, but it wouldn’t be enough as the game ended 4-2 for Cambridge.
“Afterwards you could sort of tell that they weren’t happy with not just the outcome, but the effort,” Canal said.
“You’re going to lose games. There’s no question you’re going to lose hockey games that you should win and you’re going to win hockey games you shouldn’t, but you’ve got to have the effort, and it definitely wasn’t there. They knew that, and I think they rebounded well on Sunday.”
He said they gave up too many scoring chances and odd man rushes, leaving goalie Tyler Mazzocato high and dry.
Back home at the WMC on Sunday evening, the Kings held their ground against the visiting Stratford Warriors, defeating them 3-1.
Neither goalie let anything past them in the first. But the second period was a different story. The Sugar Kings pulled ahead 3-0 as Ty Biles (Bruce), Mitch Hoelscher (Brown) and Jacob Black (Blair Butchart, Klayton Hoelscher) scored.
“Once we were able to get a couple in the second I think the weight off the shoulders dropped and we played a little bit more within ourselves. We took too many penalties again. That’s a lot of minutes we’re shorthanded and that’s something we’ve got to keep addressing. They were able to step up and kill the penalties we needed them to. We scored a shorthanded goal which was nice. They battled which was the big difference,” Canal said.
It required Stratford pulling their goalie to add an extra player for them to get the puck past goalie Jon Reinhart. Ryan Nicholson (Nolan Dunn) scored for the Warriors, but it was too late in the game to make a comeback.
Sunday’s game was exciting for both Ty Biles and Mitch Hoelscher who earned their first goals of the season. Canal notes Mitch has had a lot of scoring chances this season, so he was pleased to finally score.
“Ty Biles, he played well for us last year and he wanted to improve on the score sheet, but he does a lot of other things that don’t get on the score sheet for us that’s very valuable for us,” Canal said.The Kings also faced the Kitchener Dutchmen on Tuesday at the Kinsmen Arena.
Prior to the game, Canal said they’d have to control how they play to beat Kitchener, who has a lot of high scoring players.
“I think that’s been the key for our guys is take one shift at a time. And this is the first time we’re hitting Olympic-size ice too because we haven’t played Waterloo yet either,” Canal said.
The Kings battled hard to narrowly defeat the Dutchmen 7-6. Elmira goals came from Klayton Hoelscher, Butchart, Skinner (2), Bruce (2) and Soper. Bruce scored the game winning goal. Both teams found themselves in the box for much of the game. The Kings racked up 46 penalty minutes to Kitchener’s 58.
Canal says one month into the season the team is heading in the right direction. They still haven’t played everyone in the league yet and they’re focusing on consistency.
“When we’re on our game, it’s nice to see and the guys can play well and can take momentum away and build off it. They’re playing for one another and that’s a good thing one month in, for sure,” Canal said.
The Kings are off to Brantford tonight (Oct. 13) for a 7:30 p.m. game against the 99ers. They’re back home on Oct. 16 for a 2 p.m. game versus the Brampton Bombers.