The Kings were on top form last weekend as they skated to victory in a pair of back-to-back home games, Saturday and Sunday.
Perhaps it was the home cooking that did the trick, or the support of the fans cheering them on, but the Kings took out the top team in the Midwestern Conference, the Waterloo Siskins, in a 6-3 rout Saturday. Elmira followed up that victorious performance the next evening with a narrower 2-1 victory over the Cambridge Redhawks.
The win on Saturday was especially welcome for the Sugar Kings, who has struggled since the start of the season to put points on the board against the top teams in the league, namely Kitchener and Stratford. Saturday’s game was also the team’s first against Waterloo, and their first victory this season against a team higher than them in the standings.
Right from the puck drop, the game against the Siskins belonged squarely to the Kings. The Elmira team lost no time scoring, racking up five goals in the first 25 minutes before Waterloo even had time to react.
Sugar King Luke Israel potted the team’s first at 6:25, assisted by Brock McKenzie and Jonah Burley. It was the opening salvo, and followed less than a minute later by a second from Brody Waters (Jeremey Goodwin, Damian Figueira).
Kurtis Goodwin (Anthony Azzano, Ty Biles) produced a third point at the 14-minute mark, while Waters (J. Goodwin, Hunter Dubecki) came back for a fourth on the power play with a 1:30 left to go.
By the first intermission, Elmira was up against the first-place team, their domination carrying into the second.
Five minutes in, Dubecki (J. Goodwin, Mason McMahon) made it 5-0 on a power play.
It wasn’t an easy coast to victory, however, as the Siskins finally replied. Less than a minute after Elmira got their fifth, Waterloo found the back of the net for their first.
The score was now 5-1, and while a shutout was out of the question, the Kings weren’t ready to roll over. Dubecki (Tyson Hillier, Harrison Toms) picked up his second at the 12-minute mark, putting the Kings at a 6-1 advantage until the end of the frame.
The third was where things started to get challenging. The Siskins were on the offense, and five minutes into the final stanza, they made it 6-2 with a power-play marker. They still had another four points to make it a close game, but found their mark only one last time, at 15:28.
The Siskins may have made it more respectable at 6-3, but time ran out before they could make a real go of it.
While the scoreboard showed an imbalance, the other stats were more equitable. Each team had four power plays, for instance, with Elmira scoring twice to Waterloo’s once.
After Saturday’s game, the Kings got a full 24 hours of rest and recuperation before they were on home ice for their second matchup of the weekend – this time against the Cambridge Redhawks. Despite the stellar game the Kings had the day before against Waterloo, the matchup against the sixth-place Cambridge proved to be a more subdued affair.
It was Cambridge that took the lead in this game, putting the first and only point of the first two frames at 15:28 on the power play.
The second saw no scoring, much to the Kings’ chagrin, but things turned around in the third when Burley, aided by the Goodwin brothers, Jeremey and Kurtis, made contact 50 seconds in.
With the game knotted at 1-1 and much of the period left to play, to say it was a race to the finish-line would be an understatement, as both teams furiously fought for the game-deciding goal. It was a disciplined race, however, with neither side picking up many penalties.
Ultimately, the final point of the match came at the 13-minute mark off the stick of McMahon (Dubecki, J. Goodwin) on the power play. Now up 2-, Elmira had only to hold on until the timer ran down to zero.
With four points under their belt, the Kings will be going into this weekend’s games with a bit of momentum. On Friday, the Kings will be facing the Bombers in Brampton for their second meeting this season. Their previous meeting in September saw the Kings make off with a 4-2 win.
The day after, Saturday, the Kings will returning to Elmira for a rematch against the Siskins. This time, the Kings will be looking to prove their 6-3 win over the rival team was no fluke.
Game time in both cases is 7:30 p.m.