Their 2019-20 regular season getting underway at the league’s Showcase series held over the weekend, the Elmira Sugar Kings split a pair of games down in Niagara Region.
On the road to start the new Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) season, the Kings fell to the Hamilton Kilty B’s 4-3 on Saturday before rebounding to post a 5-2 win over the St. Thomas Stars.
In Saturday’s match, Elmira’s Hunter Dubecki swooped in to take advantage of the first power play of the game and potted a goal at 10:48 of the opening frame with the assistance of Mason McMahon and Harrison Toms.
The Kilty B’s retaliated with two goals in the second period, but that didn’t discourage Kurtis Goodwin (Dubecki, McMahon) who tied the game at 2-2 before the period ended.
The Kings spend much of the game in the attacking zone, though that wasn’t enough to secure a win, head coach Rob Collins noted.
Hamilton took advantage of the power play giving them a lead in the final stanza. Brody Waters responded 3:57 to put the Kings back on even ground, but the team lost focus and didn’t capitalize on all chances before the buzzer went to punctuation a 4-3 loss for Elmira.
With the same game plan in effect, the Sugar Kings were eager to redeem themselves against the St. Thomas Stars on Sunday. St. Thomas was first on the board in the opening period before Dubecki was able to tie things up for the Kings at 11:46.
After the intermission, the Kings looked to grab the momentum, finally going down the road with a pair of quick goals. Jeremey Goodwin (Niki Molson, Jakson Kirk) scored at 6:09 and then Kurtis Goodwin went coast to coast to score at just 11 seconds later to make it 3-1.
St. Thomas retaliated with a goal at 6:38, but the momentum allowed the Kings to maintain their lead, capped with a final goal in the second stanza at 9:45 by Carter Lennon, assisted by Jeremey Goodwin and Kirk.
“They took advantage of having the momentum and they went down the ice and scored the goal, so it happened pretty quick but it was very mature of them,” said Collins of the Kings’ effort in the second period.
The Sugar Kings unleashed in the frame and finished off strong with a goal by McMahon (Lennon, Dubecki) that sealed the deal in a 5-2 victory.
Though just two games into the new season, the Sugar Kings are moving in the right direction, says Collins. Moving forward the team will focus on hard work and competing.
“We’re a group of 22, we always have each other’s back and we play hard. We hold each other accountable to that,” he said.