Elmira Sugar Kings (1) vs. LaSalle Vipers (4)

The first match-up in the Sutherland Cup semi-finals is Mid-Western Conference, Cherrey Cup Champions, Elmira Sugar Kings vs. Wild Card, Western Conference Finalists, LaSalle Vipers.  See my preview of these teams and this round here.

*Photo Credit: Devan Mighton

On social media, the official hashtag is #ELMvsLAS


Date Visitor Home Time Arena
Wed. Apr. 8 LaSalle Elmira 2-7 Dan Snyder
Fri. Apr. 10 Elmira LaSalle 7-2 Vollmer Centre
Sun. Apr. 12 LaSalle Elmira 7-4 Dan Snyder
Tues. Apr. 14 Elmira LaSalle 3-4 OT Vollmer Centre
Wed. Apr. 15 LaSalle Elmira 1-2 Dan Snyder
Fri. Apr. 17 Elmira LaSalle 3-4 Vollmer Centre
Sun. Apr. 19 LaSalle Elmira 3-1 Dan Snyder


LaSalle wins series 4-3

Game 7

It all came down to one game.  As the seasons of both teams hung in the balance, the Wild Card LaSalle Vipers advanced to the Sutherland Cup Finals with a 3-1 win Sun. night against Mid-West Champion Elmira Sugar Kings.  Story from Guelph Mercury.

LaSalle’s early goals bring season to an end for Elmira Sugar Kings


ELMIRA — A pair of goals 31 seconds apart early in the first period sparked the LaSalle Vipers to a 3-1 win over the Elmira Sugar Kings Sunday night in the seventh and final game of their best-of-seven Ontario Hockey Association junior B Sutherland Cup semifinal series at the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena.

The Vipers, who dropped the first two games of the series by identical 7-2 scores, advance to play the defending champion Caledonia Corvairs in the best-of-seven final.

The Sugar Kings outshot the Vipers 38-29 including a 30-15 advantage in the final two periods, but couldn’t pull even.

Both teams were scoreless on three power plays.

La Salle led 2-0 four and a half minutes into the game on goals by Daniel Beaudoin and Tyler Russell before Connor Hall cut the gap to a single goal when he scored for the host Sugar Kings at 8:09 of the second period. Beaudoin restored the two-goal margin with an empty-netter with 34 seconds to play.

Brendan Harrogate, Nathan Savage, Manny Silverio and Korey Morgan each had an assist for LaSalle while Brendan Schneider assisted on Hall’s goal.

Paolo Battisti picked up the win in  net for the Vipers while Jonathan Reinhart took the loss for the Sugar Kings.

LaSalle was the wild-card entry in the semifinals as they had been defeated 4-2 by the Leamington Flyers in the best-of-seven Western Conference final. Elmira downed the Stratford Cullitons 4-1 in the Midwestern Conference final.

Caledonia gained a berth in the Sutherland Cup final with a 4-1 series win over Leamington in the other semifinal. The Corvairs had defeated the St. Catharines Falcons 4-1 in the Golden Horseshoe Conference final.

Dates for the Sutherland Cup final have not been set, but it’s expected to start Wednesday night at Caledonia.


Game 6

The Vipers and Sugar Kings are headed to Game 7 Sun. night after the Vipers pulled out a 4-3 win Fri. night.

The teams were scoreless through 26 minutes until Brett Primeau went on a 2-0 with Brendan Harrogate and blast it past Kings goalie Jonathan Reinhart.

In the 3rd period, Elmira tied the game 38 seconds in with a goal from Zac Coulter.  At 1:55, Harrogate restored the Vipers lead with a PP goal.  Eric Kirby made it 3-1 with a short handed goal.  Reinhart came out of the net to play the puck, wiped out and Kirby got the puck and shot it in the open net.  Before the period was 10 min. old, Nikko Sablone made it 4-1 Vipers.  I understand that Reinhart looked absolutely terrible on that goal as well.

The Kings attempted to get back into the game, but came up a little short.  At 10:33, Sam Harris scored short handed to make it 4-2.  With 48 seconds left in the game, Mitch Klie made it a 4-3 game, but that’s where it would end.

Reinhart finished the game with 40 saves.  Paolo Battisti made 52 saves in the Vipers net.


Game 5

The Sugar Kings have taken a 3-2 series lead over LaSalle after a 2-1 win Wed. night.  The game was wide open for all 60 min. with great end to end rushes from both teams.  The Vipers did look a little tired and weren’t taking those few extra strides to the puck, but they also weren’t getting the bounces.

Paolo Battisti kept them in that game and if it wasn’t for him, the score could have been a lot higher.  LaSalle was without Chris Pignanelli, who I saw in the stands with what appeared to be a leg injury, and not having him out there, really showed.  He logs a lot of minutes for them, and is all over the ice, and having him out of the lineup puts them in a tough position.

Elmira opened the scoring 54 seconds into the game when Steven Jakiela went in over the blue line, drove to the net and barely shot the puck, but it found the back of the net.  The game stayed at 1-0 for the next 47 minutes, untill Brendan Harrogate tied the game.  Just as you’d think the momentum had shifted to the Vipers, 23 seconds later, Marselis Subban picked up the pick, rushed in, and slid it through Battisti’s 5-hole to restore the Kings lead, and give them a 2-1 win.

In the first period, on a rush to the net, Chad Herron was hauled down by Nicolas Crescenzi and awarded a penalty shot, which he shot wide of the net.

After playing 4 games already, it appeared that these teams were developing a hate towards each other, or it could be because this is the Sutherland Cup semi-finals.  I saw them chriping each other all night and little behind the play or after the play moves.

In the second period, I couldn’t exactly see the hit where I was sitting, but Brett Langlois laid a nice one right near the benches.  Of course, some words were exchanged between some Vipers and some Kings and in the end, Alex Mutton from Elmira lost it and tried to get at Langlois, but the linesmen prevented it.  Both received 10 min. misconducts for inciting.  Right at the end of the game, at the final buzzer, some more tempers flared and Connor Hall and Daniel Beaudoin received Playing Without a Helmet gross misconducts, so they’ll be out for Friday’s Game 6.

With a LaSalle win Friday, they can force Game 7 back in Elmira on Sun at 7:00.  With an Elmira win, they can punch their ticket to the Sutherland Cup Finals against the winner of Caledonia and Leamington.


Game 4

The Vipers have fought back in this series, down 2-0, to even things at 2-2 with a 4-3 OT win Tues. night over the Mid-West Champs.  Story from WindsorEssexHockey.com

Vipers Overcome Turmoil, Take Game 4 in OT to Tie Series


The LaSalle Vipers turned in an incredibly gutsy performance, overcoming an injury and the referee’s whistle to claw their way to an overtime win in Game 4 of the Sutherland Cup semifinals.

A 2-2 score heading into the third period, LaSalle saw both of their goal-scorers in the game Brendan Harrogate and Mark Manchurek get ejected for checking-from-behind penalties a minute a part from each other and not even three minutes into the period. This coming after they had lost one of their most important players in defenceman Chris Pignanelli to an injury in the second period.

Facing a minute of a two-man disadvantage, the Vipers penalty-kill as it was all night, was excellent in denying the Sugar Kings of many scoring chances in killing it off. The calls however continued to go against them as they were assessed two more penalties before the mid-way mark of the period. The penalty-killers battled tooth and nail and again killed them off but the visitors took the lead shortly after Manny Silverio’s high-sticking penalty.

Undeterred by having so much go against them, the Vipers took the play to Elmira when they were allowed to play at even-strength, and their efforts were finally rewarded when Dan Beaudoin neatly re-directed a pass to bring his team even with just under four minutes remaining in regulation.

In overtime the Sugar Kings pressured early on, getting a few quality shots on Paolo Battisti but the LaSalle netminder coolly turned them aside. Pushing hard the other way when the opportunity presented itself, Korey Morgan made sure no outside influences factored into the outcome, bursting down the right wing and then cutting to the net before burying his own second chance opportunity.

The victory came in as gutsy of fashion as possible and it showed with the excitement the LaSalle players displayed in celebrating Morgan’s clutch overtime winner. More importantly though is the fact that the series is now tied 2-2 with the Vipers having outplayed the Sugar-Kings at five-on-five in each of the past two games.

LaSalle received tremendous performances up and down their lineup, particularly from their defencemen who made up for the loss off Pignanelli and played a lot of hard minutes. Morgan who has been excellent all playoffs but snakebitten of late, was the best player in the game and finally got one to go in. Paolo Battisti came up huge all game, making 43 saves in total and keeping his team in it with what might have been his best game of his season.

There is little time to dwell on the game however as the series shifts back to Elmira for Game 5 on Wednesday, with the Vipers facing the possibility of playing without their top defenceman and a short bench.

3 Stars:
1. Korey Morgan
2. Paolo Battisti
3. Dan Beaudoin


Game 3

The Vipers got themselves back into the series with Elmira with a 7-4 win Sun. night on the Sugar Kings home ice.  That’s something only 4 other teams have been able to do this season.  Story from www.lasallevipers.com

Vipers ride huge first period to big win over Elmira

The LaSalle Vipers scored four goals in the first period en route to a 7-4 Game 3 win over the Elmira Sugar Kings Sunday night at Dan Snyder Memorial Arena.

With the win, the Vipers pulled to within a game of the Sugar Kings in the best-of-seven series. Elmira took Games 1 and 2 by identical 7-2 scores despite being outshot in both contests.

LaSalle’s Brendan Harrogate opened the scoring just 1:15 in, with linemates Nathan Savage and Daniel Beaudoin drawing the helpers. The rookie forward is tied for the team lead in playoff scoring with 22 points in 19 games.

Just past the midway point of the first period, Savage scored in much the same way, swatting home a rebound. Harrogate and Beaudoin picked up the assists.

Beaudoin tipped in a Chris Pignanelli point shot minutes later for a power play marker, and Connor Matton scored his first Jr. B goal shortly thereafter to cap a wild opening 20 minutes.

“Once you get one goal and get the lead, you get some momentum and you build off that,” Vipers head coach Bill Bowler said. “Our guys have worked hard all season, and I don’t think we were ready to go down 3-0.”

Elmira briefly mounted a resistance early in the second, with 2 4-on-4 goals by Brodie Whitehead and Rob Kohli less than three minutes apart, but Tyler Russell’s shorthanded goal snuffed out the comeback attempt.

Marselis Subban scored shorthanded in the third period, but Beaudoin answered with his second goal of the contest, roofing a backhand over Jonathan Reinhart.

“It’s such a fine line (between winning and losing),” Bowler says. “Playoff hockey is hard to explain. We’re just thankful the buzzer finally went.”

Adam Brubacher added a late goal before Savage found the empty net for his second of the night.

Paolo Battisti stopped 28 shots in the win, while Reinhart faced 50 shots in the Sugar Kings net.

Beaudoin had five points in the game and Savage had three, while Harrogate and Pignanelli had a pair.

Game 4 of the series is Tuesday night in LaSalle. Vipers alumni Matt Beaudoin and Drew Palmer will be performing the ceremonial faceoff.

Elmira will likely be without two regulars, as defencemen Connor Hall and Brodie Whitehead were given misconducts in the third period.

Hall received a Gross Misconduct for removing his helmet, while Whitehead’s game misconduct came as part of his five minute major for a head shot on Harrogate. Hall also took an abuse of officials misconduct in the second period after shooting the puck away following a penalty to Whitehead.

Steven Jakiela was given a minor and a misconduct for a head check in the second period.


Game 2

Elmira took a 2-0 series lead over LaSalle with another 7-2 victory.

In a somewhat surprising move, the Vipers started goaltender Eli Billing.  Previous to this game, Billing had about 7 minutes of playing time throughout the play-offs.  On Wed., he played just over 5 minutes and due to him being in net for Elmira’s winning goal, he was recorded with the loss.

In the game Fri., Billing faced 31 shots and had 25 saves in 59:18 played.

Elmira opened the scoring 5:05 into the game with a goal from Brodie Whitehead.  Four minutes later, Alex Mutton found a wide open net while killing off a penalty and made it 2-0 Kings.

In the 2nd period, Rob Kohli made it a 3-0 game and Steven Jakiela 4-0 before the game was 30 min. old.  Brett Primeau finally got the Vipers on the board with 6:23 left in the period.  Before the teams headed to their dressing rooms, Brendan Schneider made it a 5-1 game.

At 5:29 into the 3rd period, Nicolas Crescenzi cut the score to 5-2 Kings, but it wasn’t enough.  Before the end of the game, Elmira’s Ethan Skinner added one and Adam Brubacher added a 2nd shorthanded goal for a 7-2 Kings final.

In the game, Jonathan Reinhart saw 39 shots.


Game 1

Game 1 in the Sutherland Cup semi-final between Elmira and LaSalle was played on Wed. night at the Dan Snyder Arena inside the Woolwich Community Centre.  The Sugar Kings took a 1-0 series lead with a 7-2 win.

The game started with Elmira looking a little flat.  In my opinion, they were feeling out the Vipers.  LaSalle had a good first period, they were in the game, and then the wheels started to fall off.  Elmira picked up 2 quick goals in the first and gained the momentum to turn the game around.

Elmira’s Rob Kohli opened the scoring with 6:59 left in the first period.  He circled around the net and fired the shot in the net for a 1-0 Kings lead.  Ethan Skinner made it 2-0 just 25 seconds later.

In the 2nd period, Brendan Harrogate got the Vipers on the board with a PP goal 3:33 into the period.  Eric Palazzolo restored the 2-goal lead when he picked up a loose puck and fired it into the net.  At 7:45 of the period, with Viper Daniel Beaudoin in the box for hooking, Elmira’s Mitch Wright shot the puck high, it bounced off the back glass, hit Vipers goalie Paolo Battisti and into the net for a 4-1 Kings lead.

The teams headed off to their dressing rooms with the Kings leading 4-1.  In the 3rd period, Steven Jakiela made it 5-1 2:57 into the period.  Almost a minute later, Viper Nikko Sablone tried to inspire his team with a bout with Connor Hall.  It was really nothing, they couldn’t really get things started, but Sablone got Hall down to the ice.  The spark did nothing for the Vipers.  At 8:42, Klayton Hoelscher slid the puck through the 5-hole and it was 6-1 Kings.  Beaudoin got the Vipers on the board again with a coast to coast goal that nobody knew was scored, there were very few LaSalle fans in the stands.  Late in the 3rd, on the PP, Cash Seraphim, who sat out for the series against Stratford, hit the 5-hole too to make it a 7-2 final.

Also late in the 3rd was a scrum right by LaSalle’s bench.  I believe that Brendan McGhee started it, can’t remember the Sugar King involved, and Nick Gauvin came in to help him.  Sam Harris joined in to help out his teammate, and there was some punches thrown by Nathan Savage and a King.  In the end, McGhee received a cross checking penalty, Gauvin got 2+10 for roughing, as well as Harris.

No surprise here, Jonathan Reinhart was in net for Elmira, making 36 of 38 saves.  Pointstreak is showing that Battisti started the game and Eli Billing went in for the start of the 2nd and was pulled on Elmira’s 3rd goal.  I admit that sometimes I miss a few things during a game, such as a goalie change to start a period, but I’m 100% confident that Battisti played that entire game.  He saw 30 shots, stopping 23.

Note: It’s been pointed out to me that yes, Billing started the 2nd period.  I didn’t notice him in net, or hear the goalie change announcement, but been told that Battisti had an equipment issue which forced Billing to start the period.  He faced 3 shots and let in 1 goal, which turned out to be the winner, so he is recorded with the loss.

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