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Kings split difference in weekend matchups

The Kings continued their winning ways against Brampton, starting their weekend with a 3-1 win on the road, but were unable to keep the ball rolling upon returning home. The result was a narrow 3-2 loss to the visiting Stratford Warriors on Sunday.

Going into Brampton December 1, the Kings stacked up favourably against the Bombers, having won three of the previous four meetings. That had increased to four out of five by night’s end.

The Kings came out of the gate swinging, scoring the first and only goal of the frame at 3:15 courtesy of Tyler Beauparlant, with Ryan Takamatsu picking up an assist. Shots after 20 minutes were 11-6 in favour of the visitors, who would finish the night up 33-20 on that front.

As with the first, the Kings put up the only goal of the middle frame. At 5:55, Jeremey Goodwin (Takamatsu, Harrison Toms) potted one to make it 2-0. The Bombers were back on the heels and would never recover.

Up by two entering the final stanza of the game, Elmira was able to maintain the momentum with Ethan Skinner burying one at 12:40, Goodwin this time lending the assist.

Rhett Kimmel’s shutout bid ended less than a minute later when the Bombers scored, but they were unable to build any momentum despite that late boost. The game ended as a comfortable 3-1 victory for the Kings.

Coming off Friday’s win, the Kings had a day to recuperate before they were thrust back into the lion’s den, this time taking on the Stratford Warriors.

While the Kings (16-13) have climbed in the rankings to where they are now contesting the third-place spot with Waterloo (15-9-0-1), both teams are still a ways behind second-place Stratford (21-6). So while the game Sunday ultimately ended in defeat, the Kings gave the visiting Warriors a run for their money.

“I think we battled hard, but we got off of our systems at times throughout the game and when we did that, they capitalized on our mistakes,” said Jeremey Goodwin immediately after Sunday’s match.

In fact, it was the Kings who drew first blood, going up 1-0 on Zack Cameron’s unassisted goal at 11:22. The Warriors answered back minutes later, however, the first frame ending with a 1-1 deadlock.

Going into the second tied, it was anybody’s game, but the Warriors pulled ahead with a goal at 12:37. The period ended with the visitors up 2-1.

The final stanza opened with a bang as both teams quickly potted on. Just 21 seconds in, the Warriors upset the home crowd with their third goal of the night, putting them up 3-1. The Kings responded less than a minute later, with Mason McMahon (Matt MacKay, Toms) making it a one-goal game again.

With almost 19 minutes left on the clock, the Kings had plenty of time to work with, but couldn’t get another past a Warriors’ defense that locked things down. It was 3-2 Stratford at the final buzzer.

“We were looking for that bounce, we were looking for that momentum bounce and we ended up finding it. We came close at the end, but we didn’t find the back of the net,” said McMahon, who scored the second goal for the Kings. “It was unfortunate, but I was glad to get the momentum going for the guys.”

The Kings head to Guelph Saturday night to take on the Hurricanes, returning home for a Sunday matinee against the Kitchener Dutchmen. The home game, which goes at 2 p.m., features a Hat & Mitten Toss, with those in attendance encouraged to bring some winter gear in a plastic bag, to be thrown on the ice when the Kings score their first goal of the game.

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