It was a three-point weekend for the Elmira Sugar Kings, who skated to a double-overtime tie in Guelph and a win at home against Kitchener.
On Sunday night, the team hosted the Dutchmen in an intense game that head coach Ty Canal says was reminiscent of playoff hockey. The Kings won 3-1.
“It had that atmosphere. It was a game that you just don’t get in October, so that was good to see,” he said. “Those types of games can bring a team together, too. As the game went on, I thought the guys were able to do that.”
Quinten Bruce started out the scoring with a marker from Jake Brown and Ethan Skinner on the power play just 49 seconds into the first. It was rough and tumble from there, with penalties for both the Kings and Kitchener for crosschecking, kneeing, hooking, roughing after the whistle, inciting, more roughing and more inciting. Kitchener evened out the score halfway through with a goal from Austin Gaboury from Connor Cole and Adam Kawalec.
The second period saw just one goal, scored by Jacob Black, from Brown and Anthony Azzano. The guys had to fight hard for scoring chances. Kitchener wouldn’t get off their backs, and Canal says goalie Jonathan Reinhart saved the game.
“He played really well. I know he has been a bit up and down with the way he is playing, and I know he has been frustrated with himself too. He needed one of those games,” he said. “Reinhart was there to bail the guys out, and the guys were able to capitalize on the scoring chances they did have, and that is huge.”
Skinner scored the third and final goal for the Kings in the third period, shorthanded, with an assist from Azzano. Canal pointed out that it was good to see scoring coming from different players on the team, on both Sunday night and last Thursday in Guelph.
“It shows the type of players that we have,” he said. “We were shorthanded too often, but the guys stepped up when they needed to and that is really nice to see so early in the season.”
Last Thursday’s double overtime tie at 4-4 was a back and forth game against the Hurricanes. Guelph opened scoring with a goal from Cameron Stokes on the powerplay, assisted by Anthony Mota.
Elmira responded with a powerplay marker of their own from Jeff Jordan, assisted by Bruce.
Guelph was next with a goal from Liam Kendall, followed by one from Elmira’s Bruce from Klayton Hoelscher and Tyler McBay. Graham Evans scored for Guelph less than a minute later, with Elmira’s Kyle Soper rounding out scoring for the second period, with assists from Hoelscher and Blair Butchart.
The third started with a tie. The Kings took the lead for a brief moment for the first time in the game with a marker from Andrew McIntyre, from Zack Cameron and Mason Sinkeldam. It was only 15 seconds before Guelph tied it back up with a goal from Lucas Dybowski assisted by Graham Evans and Lucas Pozzobon.
The game went into two overtime periods with no scoring from either side. Each team gets a point for the tie.
Canal says the team can’t give up any more leads, especially in the third period.
“The guys weren’t happy about that. If we get the lead in the third, we have to be able to find a way to shut it down and we weren’t able to on Thursday,” he said. “I think we were chasing every goal until the third period and when we get up, we have to shut them down. We have to make sure that our d-zone is not giving up those scoring chances or odd-man rushes and we did a lot of that in Guelph.”
The team heads to Cambridge to face the Winter Hawks on Saturday night before coming back home to host the Stratford Warriors at 7 p.m. at the WMC.
The team currently sits with 11 points in eight games, and is tied for third with the Waterloo Siskins.