A pair of wins pushed the Elmira Sugar Kings above .500 for the first time this season, capping Rob Collins’ tenure as head coach of the Junior B hockey club.
There was barely time for a turkey dinner between Sunday’s game in Elmira and Collins’ first day as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Guelph Storm. He leaves the team after parts of four seasons, plus the lost COVID year.
It was a “great opportunity” that arose rather quickly and required some quick action, he said, noting he was happy to see a young Kings team starting to find its way at this point in the season.
The Kings got some revenge against Cambridge Saturday night with a 3-2 overtime win, following that with a 4-1 victory at home over Caledon.
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Having lost to the Redhawks in their previous match the Sunday before, the Kings were eager for a bit of payback. They’d have to wait a bit, but that’s how it ended October 8 in Cambridge.
After a scoreless first period, the Redhawks scored the only goals of the middle frame, taking a 2-0 lead into the second intermission.
Brock Reinhart’s first goal of the year, from Madden MacDougall, got the Kings on the board at 2:49 of the third. Less than five minutes later, it was tied 2-2 when captain Adam Grein scored his fourth of the season with help from Jayden Lammel and Chris Black.
In overtime, the Kings needed just 24 seconds to end it, Lammel getting the goal, assisted by Liam Eveleigh and MacDougall.
“It was a good comeback. We didn’t get off to the start we were hoping to, but rallied in the third. We played really well in the third and then ended up pretty quickly in overtime, so it was nice for the guys’ confidence to get the result they were looking for,” said Collins.
Shots were 31-28 in favour of the Redhawks, with Hayden Sabourin stopping 29 to post the win for Elmira.
Neither the Kings (0-6) nor Cambridge (0-4) found success on the power play.
Facing the struggling Caledon Bombers on Sunday afternoon at the WMC, the Kings posted the win many would expect. While the team trailed 1-0 after the first 20 minutes, the rest of the game went Elmira’s way.
In the second, Grein tied it at 1-1 with a goal at 4:48, with assists going to Lammel and Adam Murray. At 9:03, the Kings went ahead for good courtesy of Logan Crans (Joey Martin, Keegan Metcalf).
In the third, Metcalf picked up his first of the season to make it 3-1 at 3:23, assisted by Crans. Less than five minutes later it was 4-1 when Martin scored, assisted by Reinhart and Crans. That’s how the scoreboard would stand when the buzzer sounded, despite Elmira being outshot 35-20.
This time it was netminder Daniel Botelho picking up the win, stopping 34 shots. The power play wasn’t a factor again, the Kings going 0-1 and Caledon 0-3.
“They got the first goal of the game, but we certainly felt as though we were in control the whole time. We stayed on the path and it proved to be beneficial. It was it was a quality win, a pretty solid performance on Sunday as well,” said Collins.
This weekend, the Kings (5-4) are in Stratford again on Friday night to face the Warriors (7-4) for the fourth time already this season. On Sunday, they welcome the last-place Brantford Bombers (1-8-1) to the WMC. Game time is 7 p.m.