Dominating the Hurricanes with a 6-1 road victory on Saturday, the Elmira Sugar Kings fell flat the following day en route to a 4-1 home-ice loss to the Kitchener Dutchmen.
The first of weekend games saw the Kings skate to a 6-1 victory at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph Saturday night, a big part of that win being Tyler Beauparlant’s four-point game.
It was his second weekend back after being cleared for an upper body injury, with Beauparlant saying he was happy to contribute to his team.
“It is great to be back. I miss the game,” said Beauparlant. “I think a big part of my success was my teammates – we played as a really good team yesterday. Also, the work off the ice is really important when you’re injured, making sure you stay focused and the mentality that you want to be back and in game shape.”
His hard work did not go unrecognized.
“He brings so many things to our team. He brings offence, he brings veteran leadership, he brings momentum swings – he is a guy that we can throw out on the ice when we need to shut things down or kick off offensively,” said head coach Trent Brown of Beauparlant. “We were missing that jump aspect from our game, that energy that he provides too. Iit is great to get that jolt from him back.”
Ryan Takamatsu started the game off for the Kings with a goal at 8:11 from Beauparlant. Guelph answered back with their only goal, a power play marker at 13:53.
Ethan Wiseman reclaimed the lead with a shorthanded goal unassisted at 14:30. Wrapping up the first, Jeremey Goodwin extended the lead from Wiseman and former Hurricane Braydon Munn with 30 seconds left.
“He was excellent, he might have been our best player on the ice,” Brown said of Munn. “His ability to see the ice and then execute his options, it really helped against Guelph. Obviously he has familiarity against those players and those systems; he was excellent.”
Beauparlant scored his first of the game at 2:54 after Guelph took a penalty, assisted by Tyler Biles and Wiseman. His second goal also came on the power play, this one at 7:38 from Wiseman and Munn.
“Our special team executed very well,” said the coach. “We pushed the pace of the game. We executed what we needed to execute in terms of getting pucks deep and exposing their defense.”
In the third, Beauparlant completed the hat trick at 12:30, putting the Kings up 6-1, the final score when the buzzer sounded. Tyler McBay and Biles picked up assists.
While Beauparlant would pick up another assist, things didn’t go nearly as well for the Kings the following night at home against the Kitchener Dutchmen.
The visitors scored the only goal of a quiet opening period – shots were 6-5 Elmira. While things livened up in the second, most of the excitement wasn’t the kind the home crowd was hoping for.
Kitchener made it 2-0 with a goal at 6:19 before Goodwin got the Kings on the board with a power play marker at 15:24, from Beauparlant and Biles. That brought a shower of hats and mitts onto the ice, a collection effort for Woolwich Community Services.
“It was pretty special,” said Goodwin of the goal. “It is for a good cause. I think that anybody could’ve scored it and its going to feel the same to me – it’s going to a good cause.”
That was as close as the game got. Just over three minutes later, Kitchener rounded out the frame’s scoring to make it 3-1 after 40 minutes.
Having outshot the visitors 16-8 in the middle period, the Kings looked flat in the third – the Dutchmen put 11 shots on netminder Rhett Kimmel, getting one by him, while the home side could must just four shots.
“We have to get back to 60-minute, Sugar King hockey. Tonight I thought that we were chasing the game all over the ice. It doesn’t matter who is out of the lineup – it matters who’s in the lineup, because those are the guys that can help you or hurt you, and tonight we failed to execute on a number of levels,” said Brown following the game Sunday.
The Kings are back in Guelph Thursday night to take on the Hurricanes (7-18-1) before returning home Sunday for a matinee against the Stratford Warriors (21-8). Game time at the WMC is 2 p.m.