The Elmira Sugar Kings had to settle for a split of their last two, taking a win on the road in Brantford October 5 before dropping a home game to the visiting Listowel Cyclones on Sunday.
Last week’s trip to Brantford proved to be a wild ride that saw Elmira go up 3-0, then trail 4-3 before romping back with five unanswered goals for an 8-4 victory over the 99ers.
Elmira‘s Tyler Beauparlant scored the first goal just 39 seconds in, assisted by Keanan Stewart and Tyler McBay.
The visitors followed with another pair in courtesy of Zack Cameron (Jeff Jordan, Ethan Wiseman) and Mason McMahon, who scored an unassisted, shorthanded goal at 7:38.
However, Brantford wasn’t in the mood for a blowout at home.
The team replied with two of their own in the first – one a scored penalty shot – and opened up the second with another quick goal, followed by another on the power play.
It was all Elmira from that point, however, as Jordan scored on the power play (Skinner, Cameron) at 12:55 to tie up the game once again. Elmira then pulled back into the lead with a power play goal from Wiseman (Stewart, Ty Biles) at 15:49 and another from Wiseman (Harrison Toms, Skinner) to end the second with less than a minute to play.
Beauparlant opened up scoring in the third with help from Jordan and Biles at 11:14, with Cameron notching another less than 30 seconds later to wrap up scoring for the game. In the Elmira net, Tyler Mazzocato held the fort for the remainder of the match to secure the Kings’ fifth win of the season.
Wiseman, Cameron and Jordan all posted a three-point night, earning them the game’s three stars.
“The offense is coming. We’re seeing results from the offensive side of the puck,” said head coach Trent Brown. “We opened up the scoring, I believe it was 3-0, and then they got four straight and then we scored the remainder of the goals after that which is great that we are having that second gear to be able to put it into and score when we need to, but we shouldn’t have to rely on that or go down in a game like that where we score the first couple of goals.”
The second game of the weekend saw the Kings play at home Sunday night against first-place Listowel.
The Cyclones scored the first goal at the end of the opening frame. Skinner’s equalizer early in the second – shorthanded and unassised – was as close as Elmira would get, however.
Listowel scored three times in the period to extend the lead 4-1.
Elmira’s Biles got the team within two on a goal assisted by Niki Molson and Matt Murray in the third, but the Kings couldn’t gain any traction, giving up two more to Listowel to see the game end 6-2.
“Unfortunately we lacked discipline on Sunday. Discipline in the systems, emotional discipline and discipline obviously to stay out of the penalty box. We were in the box for … we had six minor penalties in the second period on Sunday and they had, I think, a total of somewhere around 20 shots in the second period,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who we are playing, if we are in the box that much.”
Although he let six through, Mazzocato took on 50 shots that evening, the majority coming in the second period when the Kings were outshot 24-7.
“Maz is stepping up his game,” said Brown. “He has come into it a bit more as the season goes along. In a game like that where we are short handed he is putting in a lot of work. We can help him out a bit more in front of him but I thought he played well for us on Sunday.”
Currently sitting with a 5-6 record, the Kings have seen only one win on home ice.
“I think it’s just kind of how the cards have fallen. It’s disappointing that we only have the one win at home. You should be full of pride when you’re playing at home. It should be something that you look forward to, that you want to be good at home for your own fans, for your own organization,” he said.
“It is rather disappointing that we are where we are right now for that reason – we are a small community organization and we want to put on a good show for our fans. We want to have the mentality out there that they are going to be in for a battle when they come for Elmira, and right now it’s looking like the opposite, unfortunately.”
The Kings head to Guelph Saturday evening and back home for a rematch Sunday afternoon against the Hurricanes.
“They have come in and beat us a few times. Now we play them back-to-back, so Saturday night in Guelph and Sunday afternoon in Elmira, our guys will be up and they will be ready for it, for sure,” said Brown.
Sunday’s game at the WMC is a 2 p.m. matinee.