Another home-and-home winning weekend helped the Elmira Sugar Kings solidify their hold on top spot in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference. A pair of victories over the Brampton Bombers followed on the heels of the previous weekend’s wins over Kitchener.
The Kings travelled to Brampton last Friday have regained their first-place perch, with no intention of relinquishing it. A convincing 9-3 win served more-than-adequate notice, especially when followed by a 5-1 vanquishing of the Bombers back in Elmira on Sunday night.
Right from the start of the game on Friday, the Sugar Kings took control, getting on the board first at 3:13 courtesy of a goal by Brody Leblanc, with assists from Jakson Kirk and Jeremey Goodwin. That was quickly followed by a power play that saw Leblanc pot his second goal of the night at 7:34.
Elmira made it 3-0 when Matthew Tolton (Cooper Way, Mason McMahon) scored at 11:04. Less than a minute later, Brampton got on the board, but the Kings barely lost a stride, as Leblanc recorded a hat trick on a late-period power play, assisted by J. Goodwin and Harrison Toms.
After 20 minutes, the Kings were up 4-1, having buried half of the eight shots they put on net. There would be no letting up after the intermission.
“We took control of the game from the start and kind of left our foot on the gas the whole time,” said head coach Rob Collins of the team’s effort.
Elmira would score twice in the second on route to outshooting the home team 16-2. The first goal came off McMahon’s stick at 10:41, assisted by Jacob Black and Toms. Less than six minutes later it was 6-1 when Brett Allen (J.Goodwin, Carter Lennon) scored.
Brampton came back from the second intermission with some vigour courtesy of a goal at 1:48, but it was nowhere near enough to alter the team’s fate. Elmira made sure of that by scoring three more times before the Bombers got another sniff.
Black (Leblanc, Kirk) made it 7-2 at 4:30. That goal was followed less than six minutes later by one from Liam Burke (Way, McMahon). Things didn’t stop there, as the visitors followed with one more goal by Tolton (Way, Austin Becker) at 13:34. Brampton rounded out the goal-scoring with less than five minutes to go, but that was all she wrote: the Kings had 9-3 win, outshooting the Bombers 34-18.
A day’s interlude did nothing to cool off the Kings, nor bolster Brampton’s fortunes when the two teams met again Sunday in Elmira.
The Kings again drew first blood, with Kirk getting things rolling at 3:14, assisted by J. Goodwin and Leblanc. Just past the midway point of the opening frame, Brampton made it 1-1, but that’s as close as they’d get.
A shorthanded goal by Kurtis Goodwin made it 2-1 a few minutes later, and the Kings were up by two before the period ended thanks to McMahon (Hunter Dubecki, K.Goodwin).
“We got off to a good start; they tied it up, and then our guys just stayed resilient and earned the momentum back and kept it throughout again,” Collins said of Sunday’s game.
Things only got better for the Kings after the intermission, as they opened up the middle stanza with a goal from McMahon at 1:06, with assists from Dubecki and Niki Molson. It was 5-1 at 6:57 when Dubecki (McMahon, K. Goodwin) scored for the home team, and that’s where the scoreboard would stand when the game finally ended more than 30 minutes later.
Despite not scoring in the third, Elmira outshot Brampton 17-5 to cap the evening’s final tally at 47-22.
With a pair of wins over the weekend, the Sugar Kings (15-3-0-2) were able to remain on top of the standings in the conference. The upcoming games get tougher as the Kings travel to Cambridge tonight (Thursday) to face the Redhawks (12-6-1-1).
“Cambridge will be a tough test – they play well at home, and they beat us the last time we played them. I expect that to be a high-energy game,” said Collins.
The Kings follow that match with a trip to Stratford Friday night to take on the Warriors (11-7-1-2) before returning home Sunday to face the second-place Kitchener Dutchmen (14-4-2-2) on Sunday evening. The puck drops at 7 p.m. at the WMC.