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Better by the dozen as Kings’ winning streak continues

Make it an even dozen for the Elmira Sugar Kings, who pulled off another pair of wins over the weekend to bring their winning streak to 12 straight.

They sit at the top of the Midwestern Conference with a 17-3-1 record, four points above second-place Listowel.

The Kings defeated the Guelph Hurricanes 4-3 on Nov. 5 at the Sleeman Centre. They returned home the following night to earn a 3-1 victory over the Cambridge Winter Hawks.

Despite watching his players find ways to finish both games on the right side, head coach Ty Canal notes it wasn’t their best weekend.

“We didn’t get off to the start we wanted. We got down a goal. That hasn’t happened a lot to us this year where we’re down after the first, so that’s nice to see our guys were able to battle back through that. I’d say it definitely wasn’t the 60-minute game that we were hoping to play,” Canal said.

In Guelph, the Sugar Kings fell behind 2-0 in the first period, the first time they had trailed behind another team since Oct. 11. Hurricane goals were scored by Alex Ritchie and Chris Poletek, assisted by Anthony Mota, Lyam Cripps, Cameron Stokes and Harlen VanWynsberghe.

Jake Brown celebrates after scoring the Sugar Kings’ third goal of the night against the Cambridge Winter Hawks at home on Nov. 6. The game was Elmira’s twelfth straight win.[Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
Jake Brown celebrates after scoring the Sugar Kings’ third goal of the night against the Cambridge Winter Hawks at home on Nov. 6. The game was Elmira’s twelfth straight win. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
Elmira’s Ty Biles put his team on the score board with less than a minute of play left in the first period. Helpers were Ethan Skinner and Jake Brown.

Guelph increased to a 3-1 lead in the second as Stokes scored, assisted by Poletek and Mitchell Morrison. The Kings took advantage of a power play opportunity as Quinten Bruce (Skinner) scored to head into the final frame still behind by a goal.

Andrew McIntyre evened the score with a power play marker of his own early in the third, helped by Zack Cameron and Klayton Hoelscher. And with less than two minutes on the clock, Kyle Soper put the puck in Guelph’s net shorthanded. Jonathan Reinhart and Skinner assisted.

“It wasn’t a consistent game by us, by any means. There were good things out of the weekend but there were still some areas that we were playing better at before and we’ll look to improve on obviously,” Canal said.

He notes they didn’t spend much time shorthanded in Guelph which was a nice improvement.

On home ice at the Dan Snyder Arena on Sunday the first period was fast-paced but saw no scoring. Bruce opened the scoring, assisted by Cameron six minutes into the second. Josh Slegers increased the Kings lead to 2-0 four minutes later, helped by Biles and Jacob Black.

Kole Scott put the Winter Hawks on the board helped by Sean Ross and Mathieu Mercier to head into the final frame 2-1 for Elmira. A late goal from Brown (Mitch Hoelscher, Skinner) sealed the deal for the Kings.

“We got some timely scoring when we needed it. We got some really big saves from Jonny when we needed it to keep us in the same especially early on, on Sunday. Things just seemed to click at the right time during the game,” Canal said.

Captain Jeff Jordan is out with an injury and Canal estimates he’ll be out for another three weeks. Tyler McBay and Tyler Mazzocato are both still out.

Canal says without a doubt they can’t wait to have Jordan back in the line-up, but in the meantime it’s giving other players a chance to play with different guys.

“It’ll be a good test for our guys,” Canal said.

October was a big month for three Kings players. Skinner and Brown were named the Midwestern Conference Co-Offensive Players of the month for October and Jon Reinhart was named Midwestern Conference Goaltender of the month for October.

“It was definitely good for them. They’re guys that have been in the league for awhile and they’ve played a lot of hockey games. Especially for our busy month for those guys to play as well as they did is good to see and good for the young guys to hopefully follow and see the work ethic they put in. It’s good for them to be rewarded for that type of thing too,” Canal said.

This week the team will be refocusing and preparing to play this weekend.

The Kings head up the 86 to Listowel to face the Cyclones on Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. They’ll be back on home ice on Nov. 13 for a 7 p.m. game against the Brampton Bombers.

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