It was a mixed start to the season for the Elmira Sugar Kings, who were shutout by Kitchener in their first game but came back to take the home-opener against Brantford over the weekend.
The split pair put the Elmira Sugar Kings in third place in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Midwestern Conference standings in this young season, the Kitchener Dutchmen and the Waterloo Siskins having both posted a pair of wins over the opening weekend.
The Kings played the opening match Saturday in Kitchener, ending up on the losing end of a 4-0 final versus the Dutchmen. Elmira trailed early and often, as the home team scored three times in the first period, a deficit from which the visitors could never recover.
The Dutchmen scored in something resembling seven-minute intervals starting at the seven-minute mark and potting their third on a power play just as the frame was winding down.
Possibly subdued by the start, the Kings were competitive but relatively quiet in the middle period, which featured goal number four by the Dutchmen with about two minutes remaining.
Neither side could score in the third, though the penalty count was likely indicative of both the frustration and an eagerness to set a tone early in the season.
The next day proved to be a bit more promising for the Sugar Kings.
They managed to recover in short order, defeating the visiting Brantford 99ers at the first game of the season at the WMC, which saw a busy weekend of hockey, the Junior B match taking place just after the Woolwich Memorial Fall Tournament.
While the Kings would prevail, the victory came after a bit of slow start. The 99ers drew first blood at the end of the opening period. The Sugar Kings weren’t going down without a fight, however, and managed to come back with a goal by Jeremey Goodwin (Brody Waters, Mason McMahon).
Branford quickly recovered, regaining the lead less than a minute later. With just ten seconds left in the second period, Tyson Hillier (Brock McKenzie, Hunter Dubecki) managed to tie the game 2-2 headed into the second intermission.
The Sugar Kings were relentless in the final stanza, with Goodwin (Waters, Harrison Toms) scoring another goal about five minutes in. This was followed with a goal by Dubecki (Isaac Taylor, Toms) on a power play. Finally, Taylor (Waters, McMahon) topped off the match with the final goal, making the score 5-2.
Anyone who missed last Sunday’s game will get a chance to catch the team back at the WMC September 23 as the Kings welcome the Cambridge Redhawks. The home game after that sees the Brampton Bombers in town on September 30 after the Kings are in Cambridge the night before for a rematch with the Redhawks.