It was a win-lose weekend for the Elmira Sugar Kings, who posted a 7-2 win over the Waterloo Siskins before falling to Guelph on Sunday night.
The effort that led them to Saturday’s win against Waterloo wasn’t there on Sunday, says head coach Ty Canal. The final score against the Hurricanes was 5-3.
“I thought our guys were skating well on Saturday and we were able to create a lot of scoring chances. We were able to bear down and finish,” he said. “I thought our skating was the biggest thing that allowed us to get our scoring chances in and we didn’t do too well on that on Sunday.”
Elmira started scoring on home ice on Saturday night, with a first frame marker from Zack Cameron, from Tyler McBay and Jeff Jordan. Waterloo quickly tied it up a few minutes later with a goal from Sam Cherry.
Returning from injuries, Mitch Hoelscher put Elmira back in the lead four minutes into the second, and the Kings stayed in the lead the rest of the game. Jacob Black and Matt Murray added to the goal count in the second period, with just one goal from Waterloo, coming from Nolan Regan on the powerplay.
The third period was all about the Sugar Kings, with goals coming from Quinten Bruce (McBay, Black), Hoelscher (Jake Brown, McBay) and shorthanded from Jordan (Brown).
On Sunday night, hosting the ‘Canes, the story read a bit differently.
The first period set the pace for the matchup with Guelph, who went into the room up 2-0 courtesy of goals by Cameron Stokes and Anthony Mota.
In the second, Elmira tied it up, but it wasn’t enough. Hoelscher and Bruce, both unassisted, evened the playing field for a few minutes until Guelph’s Mitchell Morrison helped Guelph pull ahead. Mota scored his second of the game on the power play.
Hoelscher scored his fourth of the weekend with help from Ethan Skinner and Brown, but an unassisted, empty-net marker from Lucas Dybowski clinched the win for Guelph.
Canal says there is plenty to work on for the Kings this week, before facing off against the first place Listowel Cyclones this weekend.
“I don’t think we created the offense that we needed. Their goalie had some good saves, and some timely ones as well, especially in the third period when we started to play a bit desperate. It definitely wasn’t a 60-minute game,” said Canal. “We gave up way too many scoring chances, odd-man rushes, point-blank shots and that side of things. I think that side of the puck is something that we need to improve on. Those things on Sunday that weren’t there, we need to change in a hurry. The guys know that.”
After taking on the only team ahead of them in the conference standings on Saturday, the Kings will be hosting the last-place team, the Brantford 99ers. Canal says even though the team is well behind them in points, Elmira can’t rest on its laurels.
“They are last in the conference, but every team can win especially when you aren’t playing the way you want to, or can, and we haven’t played 60 minutes in a while,” he said. “We have to get back to that now. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is, we have to make sure that we are playing like we know we can. That is going to be our main focus over the next few weeks.”
The star of the weekend for the Kings was Hoelscher. Canal says he showed up for the guys, scoring four goals in two games after returning from an extended absence due to injuries.
“Coming back from his injuries, he is finding his groove and getting more confident and more comfortable. That is definitely a good thing,” he said.
The Kings go up against the Cyclones Friday in Listowel before coming back home to host the 99ers Sunday at 7 p.m. at the WMC.