It was a big week for the Elmira Sugar Kings, adding two more ticks to the win column and running their winning streak to four games. Both victories, over Brantford and Brampton, rang in at 6-2.
First to fall were the 99ers, as the Kings weren’t gracious visitors on Oct. 13.
Head coach Ty Canal says the team started off fine, exiting the first period with a two-goal lead, but he would still like to see a bit more from the guys.
“I think we got off to a pretty good start, score-wise. Then they brought some momentum against us, and we were able to hold them off obviously, but it was one of those games where they get a couple goals on us and you could feel that they would get a bit of extra momentum,” he said. “We didn’t play the 60 minutes like we wanted to, obviously, but we did what we needed to do to get the two points.”
The six Elmira goals came from all different players, really cementing the idea that the team has plenty of scoring options. Jake Brown and Blair Butchart scored in the first, with Andrew McIntyre, Mitch Hoelscher and Ethan Skinner putting pucks past Brantford in the second. Anthony Azzano closed out the scoring for the Kings in the third.
Sunday’s win, at home against Brampton, was some of the best hockey Canal says he has seen from the Kings so far this season. The final score was again 6-2.
“Our first period was one of the better periods that we have had all year from a consistency standpoint and we played the full 20 minutes. We were skating well and we scored with the chances that we had. It was the type of hockey that people like to watch,” he said, adding that he wants to see more of that in the future.
“In the second, they let their foot off the gas a little bit and started giving up some odd-man rushes and turnovers in bad spots and things like that, but we were really happy with the first. It was the kind of hockey that we need to play all the time, for sure.”
Sunday afternoon’s goals were also spread out among many players on the Kings’ lineup. Hoelscher started the count in the first, followed by Skinner, Brown and Ty Biles, finishing the first period with a four-goal lead. Brampton got on the board just a few minutes into the second, but Skinner and Kyle Soper shot back, bringing the score to 6-1. The third was scoreless for the Kings, with just one goal from Brampton’s Masson Sarris.
Both games saw high counts for shots on goal – 44 against Brantford and 41 against Brampton – while limiting the opposition’s chances against goalie Jonathan Reinhart.
“That is something that we have been working on, stopping scoring chances,” said Canal. “Odd-man rushes are a big part of that, and the D-Zone, the teams are going to get scoring chances, and it is just a matter of limiting what you can, and we have been trying to clear the net as much as we can so the goalie can see the first one and take care of that, and hopefully we can take care of the rest. That has been improving as we work on it, for sure.”
Sunday’s win also marked a big milestone for goalie Reinhart, tying the record as the team’s winningest goalie with 56. He has been the team’s fulltime netminder while their second goalie, Tyler Mazzocato is off sick. Canal couldn’t be happier with what he has seen from Reinhart.
“He puts a lot of pressure on himself and he expects big things and good things, and we do too. It is nice to see all of that fall into place for him after he puts in all the work and all that time into it. He is a great character guy, great in the room,” he said. “We don’t know how long Mazzocato is out for, so unfortunately for him we are going to be relying on him for a little bit longer. Mazzocato has played really well for us too, and it is unfortunate that he is sick now and it is going to keep him out of the lineup for now, but he will bounce back and Jon will help him out.”
The Kings go up against Brampton once again this weekend, this time visiting the Bombers on Friday night before coming back home to the WMC to host Brantford on Sunday at 7 p.m.