The Elmira Sugar Kings didn’t get the result they were looking for in their last home game of 2016.
The team was tested in a fast-paced game against the first place Listowel Cyclones, eventually ending up on the wrong side of a 5-2 decision Sunday afternoon at the WMC.
“Listowel’s a good hockey team. They’re quick. They play very well positionally. You don’t get a lot of odd man rushes, you don’t get a lot of scoring chances. We had some power plays against them, but I think the last couple of games we had against them we were lucky to have one. They’re disciplined that way and it’s sometimes tough to generate some offense,” said Elmira’s head coach Ty Canal.
The first period saw no scoring until the Kings finally got on the board with less than a minute left on a goal from Zack Cameron, assisted by Quinten Bruce and Klayton Hoelscher.
Listowel tied the game in the second as Chayse Herrfort put the pack past Elmira goalie Jon Reinhart. Holdyn Lansink and Jakob Lee assisted.
The Cyclones pulled ahead in the final frame on a successful shot from Tommy Hoogars. Garrett Russell and Jamie Huber assisted.
Elmira’s Cameron scored his second of the night to tie it up. Brock Philips picked up the assist.
“It was just one of those games that we couldn’t really get a lot of momentum and that goal seemed to bring some life back into the guys and then weren’t just able to capitalize following that up or anything like that. Guys were frustrated obviously too,” Canal said.
Just three minutes later Listowel’s Lanksink gave the team back their lead. Herrfort and Keaton Willis earned assists. They increased their lead with a power play goal from Willis, assisted by Hoogars and Huber, while Elmira’s Kyle Soper sat out for cross checking.
In an attempt to tie the game once more, the Kings pulled Reinhart to add an attacker. But the plan went sideways as Listowel found the puck and Mitch Deelstra scored on the empty net to seal the deal 5-2 for the Cyclones. Lee and Blake Nichol were the helpers.
Listowel had 39 shots on net, while Elmira only managed 26.
“We got outshot too and that’s not a good thing. We have a lot of trust in our goalies, that’s for sure, but usually when you’re getting outshot you’re not in the other team’s end as often as you should be,” Canal said.
He says they’ll be working on their special teams in preparation for their final game before the holiday break this week. He expects they’ll have a healthy full roster by the new year.
Halfway through the season, he’s encouraged by how the team has progressed thus far, but adds there are definitely parts of their game they want to improve on.
“We just wanted to find ways to win games and make sure that we’re playing the way that we think we can on a consistent basis. October, we had some of that stretch for most of the month, then this last three, four weeks we sort of haven’t been as consistent as we should be. That’s something that we definitely want to improve on,” Canal said.
He says they’ll build on their success in January.
Five Sugar Kings were selected last week to play in the GOJHL All-Stars and Prospects games on Dec. 28 in Ancaster. Andrew McIntyre and Matt Murray will play in the All-Stars game, and Keanan Stewart, Mitch Hoelscher and Tyler McBay will play in the Prospects game.
Due to last Thursday’s storm, the Kings’ game against the Brantford 99ers was postponed.
The Kings have one last game this year on Dec. 23 in Brampton against the Bombers at 8:30 p.m. They’re back home in the new year at the WMC on Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m. versus the Waterloo Siskins and Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. versus the Guelph Hurricanes.