The Elmira Sugar Kings were in fighting form last weekend. Coming off the end of a four-game win streak and suffering back-to-back losses the previous week, the Kings went on to spank the 99ers 8-0 in Brantford Saturday, their lone matchup of the week.
The shutout – Elmira’s first this season – belonged to the team’s veteran netminder Rhett Kimmel, who was buoyed by strong defensive play and a powerful offense. Final shots were indicative of the lopsided score, reading 61 for Elmira and just 18 for Brantford.
Right off the puck drop, the Kings proved the stronger team, taking an early lead in the game and racking up the points. The first goal came less than 1:30 into the first from Harrison Toms (Matthew Tolton, Ty Biles), and was quickly followed by a second power play marker just minutes later from Zack Cameron (Tyson Hillier, Jonah Burley).
The Kings were up 2-0 by the first intermission, and showed no signs of slowing down. Halfway through the second, Elmira call-up Ethan Broderick opened up a second volley of scoring with an unassisted marker of his own.
Karson Massey (Mason McMahon) potted the team’s fourth, and another three were added to the board in the final two minutes of the frame.
At 17:49, McMahon (Brody Waters, Hunter Dubecki) put another power play marker on the board. Seventy-seconds later, Burley (Tolton) came in with a sixth goal; and then McMahon (Jakson Kirk) again followed up to make it 7-0 with less than 30 seconds on the clock.
A shutout victory was now looking very promising.
The final stanza saw the action slow down as the Kings dug in their heels and held the line against the home team. The scoring didn’t stop entirely, however, as Elmira potted a final bottle-knocker at 4:24 on the power play, coming again from the Burley, Biles and Hillier trio, and ending the game at 8-0.
Elmira capitalized on three of their five power play chances, while the 99ers were 0-2.
A solid win under their belts, the Kings will be looking to carry the momentum forward as they head into the coming week. They’ll be facing their two most challenging teams to date: the Kitchener Dutchmen and the Stratford Warriors, both of whom have beaten the Kings at every other meeting this season.
On Sunday, the Kings will be at home to receive the Warriors for a rematch. The Warriors (9-2) are currently standing in second place in the conference, several steps ahead of the Sugar Kings (5-2-0-1), who are in fourth.
On Tuesday, the team will be in Kitchener to face the Dutchmen. Despite being behind the Kings in the standings in fifth place with a record of 5-5, the Dutchmen have pummelled the Elmira team at every opportunity, winning 4-0 in their first matchup and 4-2 in the second.
The wins will be crucial for the Kings if they hope to catch up to the top-dogs of the Midwestern Conference: Listowel (7-2-0-1) in third place, Stratford in second, and Waterloo (9-1) in first. The puck drops for both games at 7 p.m.