BY DAN MCNEE
LISTOWEL – The Listowel Cyclones’ tenth win of the season narrowly eluded them for the second straight weekend, as the Junior ‘B’ club dropped a tough decision to the Elmira Sugar Kings on Friday night.
Elmira (23-4-2) topped Listowel 3-2 in overtime in a game that the Cyclones (9-15-7) largely dominated. Listowel made the Midwestern Conference’s second-place team often look ordinary in one of their more physical displays of the 2013-14 campaign.
“We played pretty well, we battled hard and got back into it there at the end and forced overtime,” said Cyclones winger Chace Duckworth, who had an assist in the contest. “They beat us with a tough break there, but that’s hockey. They’re a good team.”
After Brandon Frandsen scored his first of the season late in the third period to tie things up at two, Elmira defenceman Adam Brubacher snuck one past Listowel goaltender Tanner Topham shortly into overtime to seal the win for the Sugar Kings. The win was Elmira’s seventh in a row while the Cyclones dropped their fourth straight decision.
“We were maybe a little sluggish in the first period, but as a whole
that was one of the better games
See CYCLONES, page 21
we’ve played,” said head coach Mark Uniac. “We were playing a good team – even at the top of your game you’re not going to win them all.”
Elmira staked itself to a 2-0 lead by the early second on goals from Zac Coulter and Adam Campagnolo. But a Topham breakaway save combined with a Ted Nichol bout later in the frame seemed to spark the home side, as Mac Nichol then narrowed the margin to one shortly after his brother made short work of Craig Johnson with the fisticuffs.
After serving a tripping minor, Nichol stepped out of the box and received a smooth pass from Reid Simmons behind the Sugar King defence. The captain walked in alone on netminder Jonathan Reinhart and beat him cleanly on the short side for his seventh of the season.
Frandsen was a force on the ice for much of the game and was rewarded for his efforts when his seeing-eye wrister from just inside the Elmira blue line fooled Reinhart at the 12:22 mark of the third. Duckworth and Ray McFalls assisted on the 2-2 marker.
“It felt pretty good,” said Frandsen of his first goal in a Listowel uniform. “It was starting to get to my head there near the middle of the season not having a goal.”
“He deserved it,” said Uniac of his winger. “He played really well tonight. He shot the puck, he followed those shots to the net and he laid some hits.”
Both goaltenders were exceptional in the game making 37 saves apiece, but it was ultimately Reinhart who outdueled Topham for the win. Both sides also went scoreless with the man advantage, as Listowel went 0-5 while Elmira was 0-2.
The two teams resumed hostilities on Sunday night in Elmira, where the Sugar Kings skated to a 4-1 win over the Cyclones.
Cash Seraphim scored a pair of goals and Mitch Klie and Campagnolo each had singles for the Sugar Kings. Hayden Neuman made 31 saves for the win.
Topham (4-8-3) was back in the Listowel net for the conclusion of the home-and-home series and made 27 stops. Dylan Sayle returned from his 12-game boarding suspension to score the lone Cyclones goal, a power-play marker assisted by Kenny Huether and Tanner Mighton. Both Mighton and Blake Nichol combined for 26 penalty minutes in the game.
Listowel’s record dropped to 1-2-2 versus the Sugar Kings this season.
The Cyclones return home to meet the Stratford Cullitons (13-14-3) on Friday, Dec. 20 at the Memorial, Listowel’s last home game before the Christmas break. Listowel has dropped both its previous decisions to Stratford this season. Friday’s game time is 7:30 p.m.
Listowel winger Derek Elliott left the Dec. 13 game versus Elmira with an upper body injury and is out indefinitely.
Listowel centre Scott Pawson (upper body) has been shut down by the Cyclones until after the Christmas break for precautionary measures.