Sugar Kings head coach Ty Canal says he wants more of what he saw this weekend when it comes time for playoff hockey.
The Kings started their weekend with a shutout in Waterloo, following that with a Family Day victory over the Kitchener Dutchmen back in Elmira.
Goalie Tyler Mazzocato had his first career shutout against the Siskins on Saturday night, while Ethan Skinner earned himself a hat trick in the 4-0 win. Canal says it was a full team effort.
“We got off to a good start. We were able to score first and that was the key. We got some good goaltending from Mazzocato. He made some big saves on a couple of breakaways,” he said. “We were just running momentum off each other. We hadn’t done that in a while. We had one line carry the flow and then the next picked it up. That is how we need to keep playing.”
Skinner started scoring for the Kings in the second after a 0-0 first period, assisted by Jake Brown and Austin Ulett. Quinten Bruce added to the tally a few minutes later. Skinner scored his second of the night from Andrew McIntyre to close out the second period. For the third time that night, Skinner scored, but this time on the power play, assisted by Bruce and Brown.
On Monday, more than 1,100 hockey fans filed into the Woolwich Memorial Centre to watch the Sugar Kings defeat the Kitchener Dutchmen 5-1 in a matinee game.
The game started out a bit sloppy for the Kings, but they seemed to find their groove in the second period. It was the same story as Saturday night. After a scoreless first period, the Kings started the count with a marker from McIntyre, assisted by Ulett. Kitchener evened the tally with a shorthanded, unassisted goal.
Elmira quickly took back the lead with goals from Jeremey Goodwin and Bruce, both on the power play, to close out the second. Keanan Stewart and Matt Murray notched the only goals in the third period, leaving the final score at 5-1.
“Reinhart made some saves that we really needed early on. The first period wasn’t great, but we got it together in the second. I think that first goal for us in the second really settled things down and we were able to build off that. I think we play differently when we score first. We get that confidence,” said Canal. “We were lucky enough to get the first goal on Monday and that just slowed things down for us. We were able to play more defensively and take our chances when we could. Our penalty kill had to be strong and luckily we were able to clear some pucks and not give too many chances to Kitchener. Jonny was there when we needed him in the second and third period.”
With Monday’s win, starting goalie Jonathan Reinhart broke his own franchise record of 29 wins in a single season.
With only two more games left in the regular season, Canal says as long as they keep playing the way they did in the last two games, the post season should go well.
“We had that consistency, we did the little things better, especially on Monday. We just need to keep that kind of mentality because that is what it takes to win in the playoffs,” he said. “Playoffs have been on our mind for a while. We are just trying to gear up for that. We are looking for the same type of game that we played this past weekend. Skinner got the hat trick on Saturday, Reinhart broke his own record for 29 wins in the regular season. Mazzocato got his first career shutout on Saturday, so overall it was a good weekend for us.”
The Kings will face off against the Cambridge Winter Hawks on Saturday night in Cambridge before heading back home for their final game of the regular season against the Stratford Warriors at 2 p.m. in Elmira.