A pair of losses last week brought the Elmira Sugar Kings’ losing streak to seven, causing the team to slide to sixth place in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference with a record of 22-16-4.
The latest setback featured 5-3 losses to Guelph on January 24 and Waterloo last Sunday.
Head coach Dean DeSilva points to major holes in his lineup as the reason for the ongoing adversity. The team is still missing seven key players: three top defencemen and four of their top six forwards.
The Kings played poorly on the road against Guelph, but looked better at home against the Siskins, despite the identical 5-3 final scores, said DeSilva.
“It was ugly, it was not a good game at all and I think Thursday our guys went in feeling sorry for themselves,” he said of the match against the Hurricanes.
Things looked positive at first as Kings hit the ice in Guelph. They were strong out of the gate, potting the only goal of the first period off the stick of Brandon Stewart at 5:13 with assists from Jake Weidner and Mitch Wright.
The Hurricanes would even things up in the second period at 1:35 before Rob Kohli earned the Kings their last advantage of the game at 2:20. After that it was all Guelph as the team buried three in a row at 5:27, 9:01 and 11:13.
In third period prospects seemed a brighter as the Kings got two of those goals back courtesy of Mack Shantz at 2:48 and Wright at 3:29, but Guelph stifled any hope with a final goal at 11:07.
DeSilva was much happier with the team’s effort on Sunday.
“I thought today we battled very hard. We talked a lot about it before the playoffs, the adversity,” DeSilva said after the game.
He was pleased that players were stepping up despite the loss.
The Waterloo Siskins clocked in first at 1:48 before Adam Brubacher evened things up for Elmira at 12:43. The Sugar Kings spent the majority of the period defending their net against an onslaught of 27 shots, managing to clear most of what came their way.
The Siskins ended the frame strongly, however, with two goals at 18:38 and 18:49, with Elmira’s Rob Kohli managing to get between the posts just before the buzzer at 19:45.
Heading into third period, Stewart tied the game for a short spell, potting a goal right out of the gate at 1:19 with an assist from Weidner. The Siskins would regain the advantage again at 8:12 before solidifying their win further with a final goal at 17:56.
DeSilva said any team in their position would be faring poorly, but as the season progresses players are beginning to show some nerve.
“You’ve got a choice you can either feel sorry for yourself or you can get mad and fight through it and that’s what I thought we did today,” he said following the home game.
There’ll be no time for wallowing this weekend, as the team plays three games in three nights. On the road in Listowel Friday and Waterloo Saturday, the Kings return home to the Dan Snyder Arena for a Sunday matinee. The puck drops at 2 p.m.