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Sugar Kings need overtime to edge out Brantford

The Kings had an energetic start to last Sunday’s match at the WMC against Brantford, scoring three goals in the first period. While the 99ers rallied to force overtime, Elmira emerged victorious by a score of 5-4. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

Given that it was their lone game of the week, the Elmira Sugar Kings may not have been too tired to play past the usual 60 minutes, but they likely wouldn’t have expected to need overtime against Brantford.

Still, that was the case last Sunday night as the Kings played host to the seventh-place 99ers (10-30-1-3), posting a 5-4 win.

The Kings remain in fourth place in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Midwestern Conference with 54 points (25-13-1-3), just a point ahead of the Kitchener Dutchmen.

Before the game, there was also a cheque presentation of $7,400, given to the Woolwich Sledge Hockey team courtesy of the Elmira Sugar Kings for their charity game. The action began soon after.

Elmira may have won the match, but it was Brantford who drew first blood at 5:08 on a power play in the first period. The Sugar Kings responded quickly and with three times the force, wrapping up the period with three consecutive goals. Tyson Hillier (Jonah Burley) potted the first at 7:02, followed by Harrison Toms at 11:41. Damian Figueira and Mason McMahon picked up assists. Jeremey Goodwin (James Valente, Jacob Black) scored one more for good measure at 12:20. Things were looking good for the Kings with a 3-1 advantage headed into the second.

Brantford came back with a quick goal just 48 seconds into the second stanza. Elmira was determined to keep them down, with Hunter Dubecki returning the favour at 14:40. Ivan Brewer and Anthony Azzano assisted. This made it a comfortable 4-2 lead headed into the final period.

There was some back and forth with shots on goal and a few penalties, but the final frame was relatively uneventful until the final moments. Brantford upped their game with less than three minutes to go, opting to pull the goalie for an extra attacker. This strategy worked in their favour, as they scored one at 17:28 and another quickly after at 17:43.

After having the lead for the majority of the game, things were looking dicey for the Kings, with the quick reversal of fortune pulling the game into overtime.

It was Jeremey Goodwin who managed to secure the win for the Kings, potting a goal just 52 seconds in. McMahon and Azzano picked up assists. That would cap a 5-4 final score, with the Kings also finishing with an edge on the not-overburdened shot clock, 23-19.

The Kings are looking to keep up the momentum this weekend, which will be busier with three games on tap. In Brampton tomorrow night (Friday), they return home for games against the rival Kitchener Dutchmen on Saturday, followed by a matchup with the Cambridge Redhawks on Sunday. Both games at the WMC are 2 p.m. matinees.

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