The Elmira Sugar Kings jumped a couple of spots in the GOJHL Midwestern Conference standings by taking two of three games they played last weekend.
On the road Friday night, the Kings pasted the Caledon Bombers 9-1. Facing the first-place KW Siskins the following night in Elmira, they came out on the wrong end of a 3-0 score, but bounced back Sunday night to defeat the visiting Listowel Cyclones 3-1.
“It was a good weekend. I think even the Waterloo game, even though we didn’t get the win, we played really hard. They’re a good team and I think they wanted it a little bit extra after we’d won the weekend before,” said Scott McMillan, now head coach as the Kings this week named Joe Amlinger to McMillan’s former post as director of hockey operations.
The weekend got off to a great start November 11, which was one to remember for the Kings, especially for a power play that went 5-8 in racking up nine goals.
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The visitors opened the scoring on a power play at 4:17, Logan Crans’ eighth of the year coming with the help of Jayden Lammel and Austin Mumby. Twenty-six seconds later, it was 2-0 for the Kings when Austen Pomerleau scored, assisted by Tanner McDonald and Keegan Metcalf.
Just past the halfway point of the period, Luke Della Croce (Mumby, Brock Reinhart) gave his team a 3-0 to take into intermission.
The Bombers got one back in the middle frame, but that would be it for their night. A power-play goal by Brady Schwindt (Taylor Bothwell, Jackson Heron) restored a three-goal lead that would only expand from there. Chris Black’s goal at 12:19, assisted by Crans and Mumby, made it a 5-1 game after 40 minutes.
The Kings added four more in the third period. Schwindt, from Bothwell and McDonald, got things rolling at 2:31. Less than three minutes later, it was Della Croce (Crans, Lammel) giving the visitors a 7-1 lead. Two more power-play goals awaited the final buzzer: Liam Eveleigh, from Lammel and Adam Grein, at 14:13 and Pomerleau (Reinhart, Della Croce) at 16:09.
Shots were 40-17 in favour of Elmira, indicting the flow of the game. Where the Kings scored five times with the man advantage, Caledon was 0-9. Goaltender Hayden Sabourin stopped 16 shots for the win.
Despite the blowout, the players stuck to the game plan, not trying to do anything fancy that might have altered the outcome. The game was also a good boost for the players, said McMillan.
“Chris Black got his first of the year. Brady Schwindt had two – he hasn’t had a lot of goals in his rookie season, so it was nice to see him get a couple. Austen Pomerleau was back from an injury and he got a couple. So, yeah, it was nice to see some guys get a little confidence coming out of that game.”
Those hot sticks went cold the following night, however, as the Kings returned to the WMC to face the Siskins.
In fact, neither team was able to find the twine early on, playing two scoreless periods before Waterloo broke through with a power-play goal in the third. A second goal followed before the midway point of the period, and the third came with the Elmira net empty.
Shots were just 20-17 in the visitors’ favour. Daniel Botelho stopped 14 in the losing cause.
Sunday saw the Kings bounce back, posting a 3-1 win over the visiting Cyclones. Special teams were key, as the Elmira penalty killers held Listowel to just one goal on nine power-play chances. The Kings also picked up a goal while up a man.
After a scoreless first period, Listowel broke the stalemate less than a minute into the second. The visitor’s lone goal gave them the lead until Lammel scored at 10:27 to tie it up. Assists went to Jackson Heron and Della Croce.
The 1-1 score held until 8:37 of the third period when Lammel (Metcalf, McDonald) put the Kings ahead for good. Lammel completed the natural hat trick at 16:49 to round out the scoring, a power-play goal assisted by Reinhart and Eveleigh.
“The guys worked really hard. The one power-play goal they got was a five-on-three, and we killed the five on three for about 30 or 40 seconds, and just weren’t able to get a clear that would have got us the rest of the time. That’s a credit to their guys working hard on the power play, but it was a really good night for our guys on the PK,” said McMillan.
Coming off three games in as many nights last weekend, the Kings (12-9) have a slightly easier time of it, travelling to Stratford (15-6) Friday night and then having a day off before welcoming the Ayr Centennials (11-9-0-1) on Sunday. Game time at the WMC is 7 p.m., with spectators asked to bring donations of hats and mittens, to be tossed onto the ice when the Kings score their first goal.
“We played six games in 14 days. We had a busy two weeks and were able to win four out of those six, and the two losses were to Stratford and Waterloo, the top two teams . It was a good stretch of games for us, and hopefully we can we can take some momentum from that,” said the coach.