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Kings drop both weekend games following coaching change

The Kings put the heat on the Listowel Cyclones during Sunday’s game at the WMC, though they ultimately fell 5-4. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

Perhaps the coaching shakeup affected the Elmira Sugar Kings, as the team lost both of its games last weekend, 7-1 to the Stratford Warriors on Friday and 5-4 to the Listowel Cyclones during Sunday’s match.

While the results do not change the team’s fourth-place position in the Midwestern Conference standings, there is now a more significant divide between the Sugar Kings and the top three teams. At 42 points, the Kings are currently trailing nine points behind Waterloo and Listowel (51) and six behind the Stratford Warriors (48). They are just a single point ahead of the fifth-place Kitchener Dutchmen (41).

Over 1,200 people made it out to last Friday’s game in Stratford, where the visitors got off to a rough start. The Warriors got on the board quickly at 2:53, and Elmira didn’t get a chance to respond, with another Stratford goal on a power play at 15:10, wrapping up the first frame at a disadvantage.

The second stanza did not fare much better for the Kings, with the lone goal being scored by the Warriors shorthanded at 6:22. It was 3-0 for the Warriors headed into the last frame.

Stratford continued to dominate in the final period, potting one quickly at 4:55 and shortly after at 5:17. Elmira finally responded at 16:47 with a goal by Karson Massey. Jacob Black and Zack Cameron picked up assists. They may have found their footing a little too late, however, with Stratford managing to pot two more in before the buzzer sounded with the score at 7-1.

The game was a particularly aggressive one, with 14 penalties between both teams in the last period alone, and 30 doled out in the overall match. Stratford also outshot Elmira, 32 to 21.

Generally, the Sugar Kings versus Warriors games are more evenly matched. Their previous match against Stratford resulted in just a narrow 3-2 loss, while the game before that was settled at 4-3.

The Kings fared a little better during Sunday’s home game against the Listowel Cyclones, but it was a loss nonetheless. Mason MacMahon drew first blood at 13:05, with Jakson Kirk and Ty Biles picking up assists.

The Cyclones didn’t get on the board until the second period, where they took advantage of an early power play and scored at 1:16. Elmira wasn’t about to give up their lead that easily, with another goal courtesy of Jacob Black on a power play at 4:06. Assists went to Cameron and Anthony Azzano. Listowel came back with two consecutive power play goals at 9:23 and 11:34. They potted one more for good measure at 17:10 making it 4-2. The second stanza proved to be most action-packed, with the most goals and highest total penalty count at nine.

Elmira found their footing during the early moments of the third period, with Kirk (Harrison Toms, Hunter Dubecki) scoring on a power play at 3:48, followed by a shorthanded, unassisted goal courtesy of Dubecki. This evened the score out to 4-4, before the Cyclones came back at 8:43 on a power play, coming off the stick of Chayse Herrfort.  There was still time to recover for the Kings, pulling the goalie with just under two minutes left in the game. Despite the extra attacker, however, Elmira was unable to capitalize, giving the Cyclones their 5-4 victory.

The loss to Listowel was a first this season, as the Kings have beaten the Cyclones in every other matchup. They may be down but not out, getting the chance to redeem themselves against Listowel this weekend.

The Kings will take on the first-place Waterloo Siskins on their home turf Saturday at 7:30 p.m., followed by another WMC game versus the Cyclones on Sunday. The puck drops at 7 p.m.

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