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Busy weekend sees Kings win two, take point in OT loss

Veronica Reiner/ The Observer]

It was something of a marathon weekend for the Sugar Kings, as the Elmira team took on three opponents in consecutive nights.

First up on Friday, the Kings were on the road to Brampton to face the Bombers. They proved not to be kind visitors, storming to a 9-1 victory. On Saturday, the Elmira team was back at home, where they wowed fans with a 7-4 knockout against the Waterloo Siskins. The day after saw the Kings hit a bit of a wall, falling 4-3 in overtime to the Stratford Warriors at the WMC.

Still, five out of six points is nothing to sneeze at, and for head coach Trent Brown, the weekend’s performance showed the team’s strong potential this season.

“It was pretty good. We’re starting to see guys playing the right way, doing the right things the way that we want to do them. Before it was just flashes, but with us being about a quarter of the way through the season, you’re starting to see it from top to bottom,” he said.

Battling against the Bombers in Brampton Friday, the Kings had this game decidedly in their pocket, scoring the only two goals of the first period to take a lead that would never be in jeopardy.

The first goal came at 8:57 off the stick of Jeremey Goodwin (Brody Waters, Mason McMahon) on a power play. The second found its mark a minute before the period closed courtesy of Hunter Dubecki (J. Goodwin, James Valente).

Elmira was up 2-0 by the first 20 minutes, and the intermission did little to cool off their momentum.

At 6:25 of the second frame, Tyson Hillier (Mason McMahon, Harrison Toms) potted the team’s third. Dubecki followed minutes later with his second of the match, a power play marker, with J. Goodwin and Harrison providing the assists.

It was at the 12-minute mark that Brampton finally got some revenge. A power play marker from Bombers’ forward Hughie Sheppard turned the game into a 4-1 affair – not enough to make a dent in the Kings’ lead, but just enough to cancel Elmira goalie Rhett Kimmel’s shutout bid.

The goal was quickly countered when Elmira captain Damian Figueira (Ty Biles, Dubecki) slammed the one into the net at 16:43, ending the frame with the Kings up 5-1.

The final period saw the Kings add another four goals to the board, while allowing none in return. Dubecki  (Brody Waters, J. Goodwin) potted his third at six minutes, again on the power play. Toms  (McMahon, J. Goodwin) followed suit moments later on the power play. J. Goodwin next got his second of the match, this time on an unassisted short-handed play at 14 minutes.

The final goal of the match came with less than a minute on the clock, from Zack Cameron (Biles, Figueira), ending the game at a 9-1 spread.

Heading into Saturday’s home game against the Waterloo Siskins, the Kings seemed to carry all their momentum over from the previous night. The Siskins were the top team of the division until recently, and currently sit in third place, just ahead of Elmira. Still, the Kings proved more than a match for the dominant team of the division, earning a 7-4 decision.

The Sugar Kings were the first to find the back of the net in this game as well.  Nine minutes in, a power play marker from Waters (J. Goodwin, McMahon) tilted the game in Elmira’s direction – but the Siskins weren’t backing down without a fight.

Waterloo knotted it up at 1-1 just seconds after Water’s opening salvo.

  1. Goodwin retaliated at 14:12, with Waters and Kurtis Goodwin this time lending a hand. Waterloo again responded in short order, making it 2-2 just 20 seconds later.

That’s how it stood going into the first intermission. But less than 40 seconds into the second, the Waterloo team took the lead.

Elmira’s Cameron (Waters, Hillier) tied it up again at 8:55, and Jakson Kirk (Luke Israel) put the Kings in the lead again just 27 seconds later.

But like a game of leapfrog, the Siskins again tied up the score at 4-4, which was again broken by another power-play goal from Waters (Dubecki, Toms) before the period closed.

It was still a one-point game when the third period rolled around, and the Kings were holding onto a precarious 5-4 lead. However, it was all Elmira in the final frame. McMahon scored an unassisted goal at 1:40. Anthony Azzano claimed the final goal of the match with a shorthanded, unassisted marker on an empty net at 18:08. The final score for the Kings’ was a decisive 7-4.

With two solid wins in a row, the Kings seemed all but unstoppable as they headed into their final game on Sunday. However, the Elmira team finally met their match in the Stratford Warriors, falling 4-3 in overtime.

This was the third time the Kings had faced Stratford and lost, and the second match of theirs to be settled in overtime.

It was Stratford that took the lead this time, potting not one but two goals in the first before Elmira had a chance to respond. It was Dubecki who potted the team’s lone goal of the frame, 14 minutes in, with Biles and Cameron picking up assists.

The second frame saw both team’s put another on the board, effectively canceling each other out. First Stratford scored three minutes in on a power play. Much later, with only 20 seconds left on the clock, Jonah Burley (K. Goodwin, Azzano) responded with a power play goal.

Stratford was in the lead 3-2 by the final stanza. Ultimately, it was Elmira’s Israel (Azzano, Brock McKenzie) that put the Kings back on an even footing, burying one at 3:50. There would be no more scoring in the third, forcing both teams into overtime to settle the difference. After four minutes of extended play, it was Stratford’s  Sean Ross that sealed his team’s victory.

“Five out of six points is fantastic,” said Brown of the week’s tally. “We really could have, and wished we could have, finished off with six points.”

With an all-round excellent showing from the Sugar Kings over the weekend, the local team will be hoping to carry their momentum through this week’s set of matches. On  Friday, the Kings face the top-ranked Cyclones for the first time in Listowel, starting at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, the Kings will be back home for another match against the Bombers at 7 p.m. Finally, Tuesday evening will see the Kings hop over to Kitchener for another 7 p.m. match against the Dutchmen.

With a record of 13-2-0-1, the Cyclones may be the toughest challenge the Kings (9-3-0-3) face this coming week.

“They’re feeling good,” said Brown. “They’re playing well, obviously, and you don’t win that many games in a row without doing everything pretty well, or very well. So we’re going to have to make sure that we’re preparing this week for that challenge.”


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