Despite hundreds of fans cramming into the Dan Snyder Arena to cheer them on Wednesday night, the Sugar Kings were unable to overcome the Kitchener Dutchmen.
Elmira fell 4-2 to Kitchener, who now leads the semi-final series 1-0.
Jake Brown opened scoring in the first period with a power play marker, assisted by Mitch Hoelscher and Ethan Skinner.
Kitchener’s Logan Schmidt returned the favour with his own power play goal in the middle frame. Taite Wirschke and Connor Cole picked up the assists.
But less than four minutes later Mitch Hoelscher slipped the puck through the five hole, while shorthanded, assisted by Andrew McIntyre.
The Kings held onto their 2-1 lead until 16:02 when Austin Gaboury earned a shorthanded goal, helped in by Sam Shaw.
Two goals from Dutchman Connor Cole, helped by Steven Farano, Gaboury and Adam Kawalec, gave Kitchener the 4-2 win.
Jon Reinhart stopped 29 shots for Elmira, while Jackson McIntosh made 26 saves for Kitchener.
Game 2 is Mar. 18 (Saturday) at the Kitchener Auditorium at 5 p.m. They’ll return to Elmira for Game 3 on Sunday for a 2 p.m. start. Game 4 is in Kitchener on Mar. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
If necessary, Game 5 will be in Elmira on Mar. 22 at 7:30 p.m., Game 6 will be Mar. 24 in Kitchener at 7 p.m. and Game 7 will be in Elmira on Mar. 26 at 7 p.m.
Elsewhere in the Midwestern Conference, the Listowel Cyclones and the Waterloo Siskins began their semi-final round on Wednesday night. Listowel defeated Waterloo 6-0 in Game 1.