With a four-game sweep of the Brampton Bombers, the Elmira Sugar Kings are headed to the second round of the Greater Ontario Hockey League Junior B playoffs.
After taking the top spot in the Midwestern Conference in the regular season standings with a sparkling 38-7-4 record, the Kings got the last-seeded Bombers in the first round.
Despite taking the series handily by a combined score of 21-8, Kings head coach Jeff Flanagan is looking for more consistency from his team going forward.
“We thought we were up and down, with some points where we felt we were playing very well and others where we didn’t think we were playing the way that we should be,” he said. “In all the games we played very well in the first period, but we weren’t always able to transfer as many of our scoring chances into goals as we would have liked. So then, that seemed to give Brampton a bit of a jump start and as the games went on we kind of dropped off our intensity level and we weren’t attentive to the little things like passing, executing our systems and playing good defence.”
After taking the series opener 3-1 on February 25 at home, the Kings destroyed the Bombers 10-2 on the road February 27.
They followed that up with a 3-2 victory march at the WMC and the series clinching 5-3 victory on Tuesday evening in Brampton.
In the latter two matches, the Kings took three goal leads into the third period before giving up a pair of goals to make it close.
But each time they managed to hang on for the win.
“Brampton never stopped working hard,” Flanagan said. “Their goaltender (Shane) Dietl played very well against us. So, all in all we are happy about sweeping them, but probably our play wasn’t as good as we would have liked it to be overall.”
There were some standout performances, though.
“Adam Brubacher was very good in all of the games,” Flanagan said. “To be honest, all year Adam has been excellent for us and probably his biggest asset has been his consistency; he is consistently good every game. … Rob Kohli was excellent in the series, both offensively and defensively and he has been excellent on the face offs. He is one of the guys that we call on in every situation, but especially defensively. Chad Herron has been excellent, apart from the suspension he took (Tuesday night). Cash Seraphim was excellent as well, working hard and so were Steve Jakiela and Brodie Whitehead. And stick Mac Clutsam in there, too, because he was very good.”
Clutsam led the way with two goals and seven assists in the series. Klayton Hoelscher potted six goals and an assist while netminder Jonathan Reinhart posted a 1.70 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.
In round two, the Kings will either face the Cambridge Winterhawks, if they can come back against the Stratford Cullitons (currently trailing in the series 3-1) or the Waterloo Siskins, who swept their first round matchup against the Guelph Hurricanes.