CHRISTOPHER MILLS, For the Independent
A week off seemed to do the trick for the Elmira Sugar Kings. After following up a four-game winning streak with a 2-5 stretch, the home team was in dominant form on Sunday in a 10-1 drubbing of the visiting Guelph Hurricanes.
The game started off with the makings of a back-and-forth battle, as Elmira led 2-1 after the first period and 3-1 after the second, but the Sugar Kings erupted for 7 goals in the final period, including Brady Campbell completing a hat trick.
The scoreboard wasn’t the only thing that erupted though, as the teams combined for 19 penalties in the third period alone, a good chunk of those stemming from a fight between Elmira’s Patrick McKelvie and Guelph’s Steven Domenichini.
The Sugar Kings showed strength in all facets of the game on Sunday, scoring multiple goals at even strength, on the power play, and shorthanded. Coach Dean DeSilva said he was proud of the way his team battled for a full 60 minutes and each player contributed.
“We ran some very tough practices this week and as a result the work ethic carried through to the game,” he said, following the team’s recent rough stretch. “That was our preparation for tonight, competing in all areas of the ice.”
The Sugar Kings showed a lot of aggression, battling hard for rebounds and peppering Hurricanes’ goalie Quinton Henry with 61 shots.
“We challenged the team to put pucks toward the net and battle in the dirty areas of the ice,” DeSilva said. “We don’t have a team full of fancy hockey players that are going to put up 50 goals in a season. We have a team of blue collar players that need to put their hard hats and work boots on each shift. That was our message to the team tonight. Play hard and play for each other.”
Though the season is young, DeSilva said he is pleased with the progress players are making, but he also knows the team has more to give and they are still learning to handle the emotional ups and downs of the game.
“The challenge as coaches after a game like this is to keep our players grounded,” he said. “You can’t get too high on the highs or too low on the lows. We need to remember what we did to have this success and make sure that work ethic and tenacity becomes second nature. That will take time to come together consistently with a young team but that’s what we’re striving for.”
DeSilva also credited Elmira’s loyal fans with supporting the team and giving the players a boost.
Elmira had 10 players reach the score sheet in this game, led by Adam Dauda’s five points. Campbell and Jake Weidner had four points apiece.
Next up for the Sugar Kings is a return match with the Hurricanes in Guelph on Saturday night.