The Elmira Sugar Kings find themselves on the brink after losing game four of their conference-final matchup again the Redhawks in Cambridge Tuesday night. The 2-1 loss in double overtime puts the team down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
The Redhawks bombarded the Kings, outshooting them 48-26. The teams traded goals in the second period, which was the only scoring until 39 seconds into the second overtime.
After winning the series-opener in convincing fashion, the Kings found themselves on the ropes heading into Tuesday night’s match following losses to Cambridge in games two and three.
“Cambridge came out with two efforts that were deserving of wins. We’ve got to figure out a way to get back on the winning ways,” said head coach Rob Collins after the weekend losses.
“They were playing with more desperation in their game than we were, hence the effort. And I think, more than us, their execution is better as well.”
Elmira’s power play feasted on the Redhawks, scoring five times at the WMC May 4 on the way to a 7-3 win. The Kings ran up a 6-0 lead through two periods before Cambridge even got on the board.
Jaxson Murray opened the scoring at 7:06, assisted by Brody Leblanc and Nathaniel Mott. It was 2-0 Kings when Luke Della Croce scored at 13:15, with helpers from Mason Eurig and Jack O’Donnell. In the final few minutes of the period, power-play goals from Kurtis Goodwind (Liam Eveleigh, Brock Reinhart) and Murray (Goodwin, Eveleigh) made it 4-0 for the home side going into the first intermission.
The only scoring in the second came during Elmira power plays. The first came off the stick of Reinhart, assisted by Eveleigh and Murray, at 15:09, with the second coming courtesy of Leblanc, from Logan Crans and Luke Eurig.
The Redhawks scored early in the third, then added two more before Goodwin scored another Elmira power-play goal at 14:59, assisted by Reinhart and Eveleigh.
Shots were 30-25 in favour of Elmira, who went 5-7 with the man-advantage, while Cambridge was 1-3. Netminder Daniel Botelho stopped 22 shots for the win.
It was a different story Saturday night in Cambridge, a game dominated by the Redhawks on route to a 4-1 win over the visiting Kings.
After a scoreless first, the home team scored three times in the middle frame to take a 3-0 lead into the second intermission. After play resumed, Cambridge scored again before Elmira finally got on the board courtesy of an Aidan Yarde power-play goal. Assists went to Reinhart and netminder Matt Lunghi, who had come in relief of Botelho after the fourth goal.
That was it for the scoring, however. Shots were 21-13 for Cambridge. Elmira was 1-6 on the power play, while the Redhawks were 1-4.
Game three the following night was a much closer affair, with the Kings ending up on the wrong end of a 3-2 decision at the WMC.
Elmira was on the board first, with Adam Grein scoring on the power play at 19:07, assisted by Mott and Leblanc.
In the second, Cambridge first tied the score then went ahead before Elmira’s second power-play goal – Crans, from Mott and Grein – made it a 2-2 game at 9:21.
The special teams game continued in the third, with the only scoring coming off a Cambridge power play.
Elmira was 2-5 with the extra man, while Cambridge was 2-6. Shots were 39-30 in favour of the visitors.
Facing elimination, the Kings are back in action tonight (Thursday) at the WMC. If necessary, game six goes Saturday night in Cambridge, with game seven Sunday night back in Elmira.