Call it Labour-ing Day weekend for the Kings, as the Junior B squad dropped a pair of close games in preseason play.
Having fallen to the Kitchener Dutchmen earlier in the week, Elmira dropped Friday night’s rematch by a 4-3 margin, following that up with a 3-2 loss to the Listowel Cyclones as many of us enjoyed the holiday on Monday.
The losses dropped the Kings’ preseason record to 2-3, with a final game this Saturday against the visitors from Stratford offering a chance to break even.
Playing against the Dutchmen at the Kitchener arena on August 31, the Kings came looking for a bit of revenge, but couldn’t quite find the bounces.
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The Dutchmen dominated the first period of play, scoring thrice while letting none through their own defenses.
It was 3-0 in favour of the hosts when the period closed, yet the Kings were not deterred.
The middle period was a wash, with neither side making a dent, but the Kings kicked it into high gear in the final frame.
Elmira newcomer Dawson Shakelton put the team on the board courtesy of a power play goal just before the two-minute mark, with Tyson Hiller and Mitt Toten picking up assists.
Hunter Dubinski, another new addition to the Sugar King roster, took advantage of another power play for the Kings, with the assists this time going to Liam Fayle and Anthony Azzano.
Knotting things up at the 7-minute mark was Zac Cameron (Harrison Toms, Kurtis Goodwin) on a third power play, turning the game into an even 3-3 with just under 13 minutes left.
After clawing their way back, the Kings couldn’t hold onto their momentum, however, and the Dutchmen came back for their fourth goal of the match with exactly 10 minutes left on the clock.
It was a one-point game at that point, but the Kings just didn’t have the energy for a second rally, and ultimately fell 4-3.
In the special teams category, the Kings made the most of their advantages, capitalizing on three of nine power plays, while the Dutchmen went just 1-7.
Heading into Monday night’s game in Listowel, the Kings had a reason to be optimistic. In their last game against the Cyclones, they snatched a victory from the previous year’s Sutherland Cup winners with a 2-1 decision, settled in overtime.
However, the game was decidedly in the Cyclone’s corner this time around.
Listowel took off in the first with a pair of goals before the 10-minute mark, setting the tone for the game.
Elmira was looking to reply, but it was not until the second period, 1:14 in, that their answer came from Azzano (Dubinski, Hiller)
With the score now 2-1, the Kings were playing a one-goal game … until the Cyclones potted their third at 11:13 marker, essentially sealing their fate.
It was now 3-1 as the Kings entered the final period, and the Cyclones were on the defensive. No pucks found their marks on either side until the final five minutes of play, when Elmira’s Kurtis Goodwin scored, with older brother Jeremy Goodwin lending an assist.
Despite the rally, the Kings couldn’t recreate the magic, and the game ended at 3-2.
Suffering back-to-back losses, the Kings nonetheless saw a strong showing from the newcomers, who since the start of the preseason have put more than their fair share of markers on the board.
There will be one final exhibition match this Sunday at the Dan Snyder Arena in Elmira; the puck drops at 7 p.m. The first two games of the regular season will be the weekend after: an away game September 15 against Kitchener, followed by a Sunday matinee against Brantford.