What a difference a week makes. Having dropped two of three the weekend before, the Elmira Sugar Kings took both ends of a home-and-home series against Kitchener over the weekend, picking up four points and regaining top spot in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference.
The Kings, fallen from conference lead after the previous weekend, were looking to redeem themselves when they travelled to Kitchener on Saturday. They did just that, skating to a 4-3 OT victory over the Dutchmen. Back in Elmira the following day, The Kings used home ice to their advantage in posting a 3-1 win.
The weekend’s opening tilt was something of a seesaw battle, with Elmira owning the first period, Kitchener the second, and then a split in the third that forced an overtime decision.
The Kings got on the board quickly, with Brody Waters, assisted by Jeremey Goodwin, scoring just 23 seconds after the puck dropped Saturday night. That set the right tone, though it would be difficult to keep the momentum.
Later in the period, with the Kings enjoying a man-advantage, Jakson Kirk (Niki Molson, Jacob Black) made it 2-0 at 12:45, which is where things would stand heading into the first intermission.
In a reversal of fortunes, the Dutchmen scored the middle frame’s sole goals, potting two less than four minutes in to knot things at 2-2 after 40 minutes.
The scoreboard tilted back in Elmira’s favour less than four minutes into the third period, as Cooper Way found the back of the net the assistance of Black and Keaton McLaughlin.
Kitchener stepped it up, putting up 13 shots in the period – the night would finish 32-27 in the Dutchmen’s favour – but getting just one more behind netminder Greg Brassard, who shut them down for the remainder of the game.
Still, it was 3-3 after regulation, forcing extra time to settle the matter. J. Goodwin would have the last word, potting one at 3:19, assisted by Molson and Carter Lennon, to give Elmira a 4-3 win.
The teams didn’t have to wait long for a rematch, as they were back on the ice at the WMC in Elmira the following night. The close play carried on, at least to begin with, when both teams came up blank in the first period.
In the second, they were back on the seesaw: Elmira broke the drought at 11:53 on goal by Mason McMahon (Hunter Dubecki, Kurtis Goodwin), but Kitchener retaliated just over three minutes later to deadlock the score at 1-1 after 40 minutes.
Despite being outshot 11-4 in the third, it was the Kings alone who managed to move the scoreboard. Elmira made it 2-1 at 6:47 on a shorthanded goal by K. Goodwin (Molson, McMahon). Six minutes later, the Kings put things away with a power-play marker from Dubecki (Toms, J. Goodwin). The 3-1 lead would stay in place through the final buzzer.
The weekend gave Elmira a record of 13-3-0-2, the 28 points on par with Kitchener (12-4-2-2), but the extra win enough to put the Kings atop the standings. The Listowel Cyclones (12-4-1-1) round out the top-three.
The Kings hope to solidify their position this weekend in another home-and-home series, this time against the Brampton Bombers (5-12-2-1). On the road Friday night, the Sugar Kings return to the Dan Snyder arena Sunday evening for a rematch. The puck drops at 7 p.m.