After dropping the first game of the season, the Elmira Sugar Kings have won four in a row, including taking both matches at the WMC last weekend. Skating to a 5-2 victory against the Waterloo Siskins on Saturday, the team followed that with a 5-1 decision over the Brampton Bombers the next night.
Each game had its own challenges, but resulted in a rewarding weekend for the Kings. Team captain Mason McMahon led the team with three goals and an assist.
“He did what he does and what we expect him to do and that was lead by example and was rewarded through hard effort and hard work,” head coach Rob Collins noted of McMahon’s efforts.
In Saturday’s game, just 3:40 of the opening stanza against the Siskins, McMahon swept in with a goal assisted by Hunter Dubecki. Waterloo retaliated five minutes later to tie things up at 1-1, which is where things would stand for another 10 minutes before McMahon (Carter Lennon) broke the deadlock before the period ended. The Kings would never look back.
Elmira took control in the second, scoring three times – including twice with the man advantage – and tightening up the defence, giving the Siskins just three shots on goal.
Harrison Toms led with the first goal of the period, scoring on the power play at 8:34 to make the score 3-1. The crowd was excited and this prolonged the momentum the Kings needed to continue their lead.
Two minutes later, Jeremey Goodwin (McMahon, Dubecki) gave the already excited crowd more to cheer about when he made it 4-1 with a power-play marker of his own. The Kings continued to turn up the heat when Cooper Way (Kurtis Goodwin, Matt Tolton) scored at 16:04 to extend the lead to 5-1.
Following the intermission, a relatively quiet third frame ensued, at least where hockey action was concerned. The two teams combined for just seven shots on net, but eight infractions to double the number of penalties called in the game. Waterloo capitalized on one of the power plays to provide the period’s only goal, making it 5-2 at 18:04. That’s how the game would end.
Shots overall were 22-15 in favour of Elmira.
The following day the Sugar Kings welcomed the Brampton Bombers to the Woolwich Memorial Centre.
The game didn’t get off to a good start, as Kurtis Goodwin – an engine for the team, Collins says – was ejected just 41 seconds in after drawing a checking-from-behind penalty. Ten minutes later, the same fate befell Brett Allen. In between, however, McMahon would open the scoring with a power play goal at 9:39, assisted by J. Goodwin and Toms.
The Bombers evened the game out less than a minute later to go into the room tied 1-1, but that would be as good as it got for the visitors.
With two players off the ice for the whole game, leaving the Kings with 10 forwards, Collins had to alter his game plan on the fly. It worked.
The close game and bad blood from the first period increased tensions in the second. The play got rough, but the pace belonged to the Kings, who got a goal from Dubecki (J. Goodwin, Toms) during a power play at 11:23. The tone set, Way (Niki Molson, J. Goodwin) potted another goal at 18:09, and 20 seconds later got their fourth goal of the game courtesy of a shorthanded effort from Brody Waters (Lennon, J. Goodwin).
Having outshot Brampton 16-3 in the middle frame, the Kings continue that pressure in the third. Though scoring just once – Waters with his second at 16:20 on the power play, assisted by Molson and J. Goodwin – the home team continued to control the puck and the play en route to the 5-1 victory.
Elmira had the Bombers on their heels and chasing the puck for much of the match, Collins noted.
The Kings will look to extend their streak when they face the Cambridge Redhawks on Saturday at the Galt Arena at 7 p.m. For its part, the home side will be seeking revenge for their loss against the Kings on September 15.
The Kings (4-1) returns home to Elmira the following night for a match against the only squad ahead of them in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference, the Listowel Cyclones (4-1-0-1). Game time is 7 p.m.