In a numbers game, Kings keep on adding it up

Four days. Three games. Three wins. A record of 13-0. Your Elmira Sugar Kings certainly have the math figured out. For fans of Junior B hockey, from last Saturday through Tuesday night, it was all Kings, all the time. It all got started Oct. 8, as the Kings travelled down to St. Catharines to compet

Last updated on May 04, 23

Posted on Oct 13, 11

5 min read

Four days. Three games. Three wins. A record of 13-0. Your Elmira Sugar Kings certainly have the math figured out.

For fans of Junior B hockey, from last Saturday through Tuesday night, it was all Kings, all the time.

It all got started Oct. 8, as the Kings travelled down to St. Catharines to compete in the GOJHL Showcase where they were paired with the Western Conference-leading St. Mary’s Lincolns (6-2).

The first period saw both teams with some excellent chances to score but neither could capitalize.

“It was another learning experience, we found out that we are not an early morning team, we did not play well. I will give full credit to St. Mary’s – they played a very good game,” said head coach Dean DeSilva.

The Kings broke out early in the second period with a goal from forward Scott Nagy at 1:39, but the Lincolns retaliated with two goals less than a minute apart, capitalizing on two penalty calls against Elmira.

STANDING HIS GROUND Sugar Kings goaltender Nick Horrigan deflects a shot by Mike Mandarelli of the St. Mary’s Lincolns during a shootout at the GOJHL Showcase held Oct. 8 in St. Catharines. Elmira hung on to win the match 4-3.

Forward Andrew Smith made it a 2-2 game with nine minutes remaining in the second period, but again the Kings would suffer due to penalties. This time Patrick McKelvie was sent off the ice with a roughing call, at which point Lincolns’ defenceman Kurtis Lavis beat netminder Nick Horrigan with 37 seconds remaining in the period.

The opening minute of the third period saw Elmira captain Colton Wolfe-Sabo come out of the Kings’ zone to find Smith, who travelled down the ice and made a quick pass to Riley Sonnenburg, whose subsequent shot beat goaltender Greg Dodds, knotting the score at 3-3.

“It took us a while to adapt to their power play and once we did we were able to do a better job, but they had already scored three that way,” said DeSilva. “What it showed was the veteran presence that we have on the team, going into the third period down a goal and Sonnenburg, Wolfe-Sabo and Smith go out and score in the first minute of the third period. We controlled the third period very well.”

The game went into overtime, with neither team potting a goal during the four-on-four action.

During the shootout the Kings managed to score twice while Horrigan shut down St. Mary’s, exciting the crowd with his confrontational style of goalkeeping. Leaving the crease and skating towards the St. Mary’s players during the penalties put a certain amount of intimidation into the play, favouring Horrigan both times.

“It is just something I developed a long time ago, I had a coach that told me to come out and challenge and I tried it – I left the crease and it really has just been working for me,” said Horrigan. “I do it every penalty shot: it seems to really work out for me. It must get into the player’s head.”

Play like that undoubtedly contributed to Horrigan being named GOJHL goaltender of the month for September.

“It is a big deal, but right now I am concentrating on the games at hand. It is probably something that will set in once I am done playing and I look back at it and I know it will be a pretty cool honour,” said Horrigan.

Final score: Elmira 4, St. Mary’s 3. Victory No. 1.

The next night, the local boys were back home at the Woolwich Memorial Centre to play the woeful Owen Sound Greys (1-11).

The Kings were never in any danger during the game, scoring five of their eight goals in the first period.

Smith got the ball rolling, slipping the puck past Greys’ goalie Nicholas Caldwell, who would be pulled in the first after letting in four goals, replaced by Domingo Torrenueva.

“It is a natural thing to think that this is going to be an easy game since (the Greys) are at the bottom of the standings right now. We just reminded the guys before the game that when we get into that attitude we let teams back into the game,” said DeSilva.

The Elmira coaches were determined not to let their players become complacent with such a lead and spoke to them after each period to remind them of how they got there.

“We reminded them of the Kitchener game where we played well in the first 40 minutes and we stuck to our system and then we went on our own agenda in the third and let them back in the game. So we gave the kids some challenges tonight and some rewards for it, and for the most part they stuck to it. It is tough in a game like that where we have such a lead, but we did not let them into the game which is what we wanted to focus on tonight,” said DeSilva.

Smith scored twice in the first period, with teammates Sonnenburg, Will Cook and Lukas Baleshta adding to the Kings’ total.

Greys forward Mitch Wright would score his team’s lone goal of the period.

The Greys came out on the attack after the intermission and potted their second of the night less than a minute into the period.

Brady Campbell and Cass Frey added to the Kings’ tally in the second, with the third period seeing one goal scored by Nagy.

Final score: Elmira 8, Owen Sound 2. Victory No. 2.

The Kings had Thanksgiving Monday off, but showed no signs of turkey-related lethargy the following day when they headed on down the expressway to take on the Dutchmen at the Kinsmen Arena in Kitchener.

Elmira opened the scoring just three minutes into the game, with Baleshta feeding Campbell as he beat the Dutchmen netminder Mario Duscio. That goal would stand for 20 minutes, the period ending 1-0.

The second period would see the Kings add three more to the scoreboard from Nagy, Smith and Cook while Dutchmen Paul Gallucci scored Kitchener’s only goal of the night against Nick Coone.

The third was a scoreless affair until almost 15 minutes in, when Brett Priestap potted one shorthanded, assisted by Sonnenburg and Wolfe-Sabo.

Final score: Elmira 5, Kitchener 1. Victory No. 3.

The Kings look to make it 14-0 today (Saturday) when they welcome the 3-9 Waterloo Siskins to the WMC.
With the team flying high, continuing to keep his young charges grounded is the pressing concern for DeSilva.

“No one is going to go 51-0 and right now what is tough for the kids to understand is that a coach is usually grumpy during a winning streak and they are in a better mood in a losing streak, for as bad as that sounds, I am just trying to keep them working as a team and keep their egos in check,” he explained. “It is easier to come down on kids when they are winning then it is when you are losing because you want to build up their confidence at that point.”

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