BY TERRY BRIDGE
ELMIRA – Five seconds.
That’s all it took to decide the latest chapter in the heated rivalry between the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Elmira Sugar Kings and Listowel Cyclones. The clubs were tied – in the standings and on the scoreboard – when the puck hit the ice at the Woolwich Memorial Centre to start the third period on Sunday night, and five ticks later it was in the back of the Cyclones’ net courtesy of a Brady Campbell breakaway snap shot.
“Certainly you give up a goal in the last minute or the first minute of a period, it’s always tough,” said Elmira head coach Dean DeSilva following his team’s 7-5 victory. “That was something we certainly wanted to build off.”
Jacob Robitaille pulled Listowel even with his second of the game, but Jake Weidner collected the game-winner on the power play with 11:03 to play. A Brandon Stewart empty-net goal clinched it.
This was Listowel’s sixth game in a nine-day stretch, and though they came up short in this one, they still picked up eight of a possible 12 points over that span.
“We never gave up and our power play was good tonight, but we were visibly tired,” Cyclones head coach Jeff Flanagan said. “To a man, Drew [Reinhardt] was tired, all our skaters were tired, guys gave everything they had tonight and dug way down deep to try and find that little bit of energy. It’s a testament to them, they kept coming back and coming back, it just wasn’t enough.”
Weidner finished with four points and Campbell had two goals and an assist for the Sugar Kings (19-9-3).
“Brady Campbell and Jake Weidner are premier players in the league,” DeSilva pointed out.
Matt Schieck and Zac Coulter also scored for Elmira, while goalie Hayden Neuman made 32 saves for the win.
Caleb Cameron responded with a goal and three assists for the Cyclones (19-12-1). Patrick Bell and Brandon Priestap had the other tallies.
Reinhardt made 124 saves over the weekend’s three games, which included a 3-2 shootout victory over the Waterloo Siskins and a 2-0 triumph against the Caledonia Corvairs.
“We weren’t excellent in the first period, but we worked hard, we competed,” Flanagan said. “We got four points this weekend and four points last weekend, beat some good teams. We stayed at it tonight and it just wasn’t our night.”
Both Robitaille markers and Bell’s goal came on the power play as Listowel went 3-for-8. Weidner had the Sugar Kings’ lone power-play goal. They went 1-for-6.
“Any time you come out with two points you have to be happy, and Listowel’s a very, very hard-working team and they kept coming and coming,” DeSilva said. “Any time you come out with two points against them is a good thing. The league is so tight that every game you’re scratching for everything you can get. We’re happy to come out with two points.”
The clubs came into this game tied for third in the Midwestern Conference. Elmira now has a two-point cushion with a game in hand.
The Cyclones play their final two games of the year this weekend.
Friday it’s the Guelph Hurricanes (6-26) at Listowel Memorial Arena at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday they head to Galt to face the Cambridge Winterhawks (20-9-2).