Putting up for their final exhibition game before the season, the Sugar Kings came out swinging at last Sunday’s home game to skate away with a 5-2 victory over the Stratford Warriors.
Taking on their rival team from the Midwestern Conference – which last year edged out the Kings over the regular season – the Kings really gave the fans something to cheer about. The two teams were sharing ice for the first time this season, giving each a chance to measure up their competition for the Cherrey Cup.
The Kings had a decided edge, but it was not until nearly the end of the first period that the goals started coming.
Fourteen minutes in, Elmira potted their first point of the match, with newcomer Tyson Hiller (Kurtis Goodwin, Isaac Taylor) putting one on the board. Riding the momentum, the Kings came in for two more before the frame was out, first from veteran Jeremey Goodwin (Mason McMahon and Brody Waters) at 18:28, followed by Mitt Toten (Jonah Burley, Jakson Kirk) just 20 seconds later.
The game was 3-0 in the Elmira’s favour as the second period opened. That became a four-goal lead when fellow new recruit Brock McKenzie (Kirk, Damien Figueira) send another on flying into the back of the net, two-and-a-half-minutes in.
Stratford got their first chance to respond at the four-minute mark, with Cam Shearer potting one unassisted.
Down 4-1, however, the Warriors had a lot of ground to make up, and the gap only widened when K. Goodwin (Taylor, Liam Fayle) put in Elmira’s fifth.
It was now 5-1 when the Warriors got their second, and last, goal of the match – a power play marker at 6:47.
With four goals scored in just over four minutes of game time, the board was looking wildly different than at the start of the frame, but Elmira still clung to their three-point lead, and were riding it to victory.
The game was starting to get rough and Elmira was losing players to the box. Despite the loss, the board stayed frozen in place at 5-2 for the remainder of the match.
In the special teams battle, the Kings were 0-3 in power plays, while the Warriors got eight opportunities and scored once.
With a healthy victory to round out the preseason, the Kings will be heading into their first set of regular games this coming weekend. First up on Saturday, Elmira will be facing off against the Dutchmen in Kitchener, a 4:30 p.m. game. They’ll be back home the following day for a matinee, hosting the Brantford 99ers. The puck drops at 2 p.m.