In game two at the Western Fair in London on Saturday, April 29, Elmira jumped out to a 2-0 series lead before moving the series back to Elmira for games three and four.  Jonathan Reinhart continued his stellar play in goal and Elmira received some opportunistic scoring as the Sugar Kings escaped with a 2-0 shutout win in front of 872 fans.  The Nationals soundly outplayed the Sugar Kings holding a huge territorial advantage, particularly in the first and third periods and dominated them physically, but Reinhart’s goaltending performance and the Sugar Kings’ excellent penalty killing thwarted the London squad.  The Nationals were unsuccessful on 7 powerplay opportunities and allowed a shorthanded Elmira goal.  The Sugar Kings were blanked on 4 chances but did score their first goal just 5 seconds after London returned to full strength.

London poured on the heat from the drop of the puck.  They pounded the Sugar Kings with many jarring hits and unleashed a barrage of shots at the Elmira cage.  They led 11-0 on the shot clock before Elmira registered their first shot on goal near the midway point of the first period on a powerplay.

Jacob Black (7) tallied the game winner five seconds after Kyle Dawson returned to the ice after serving a double minor for high sticking and tripping.  On the play a bouncing puck ended up in the deep slot for Black after a scramble at the side of the London net.  His quick wrist shot beat Cameron Zanussi in the London goal.  Dawson had yet to enter the play from exiting the penalty box.  The penalty calls were in error.  Dawson did indeed high stick an Elmira player behind the net but during the delayed call Dawson was also fingered for tripping a Sugar King player near the blueline.  It was in fact Richard Whittaker who fouled the Elmira player.  He was being guided to the penalty box by a linesman and the referee motioned him away.  Elmira ended up with a 4-minute, 5-on-4 advantage when it should have been a 5-on-3 advantage for two minutes.  The goal came at 16:12.  London held a 14-5 shot advantage in the first period.

Elmira’s unlikely insurance marker came in the second period at 15:04.  Andrew McIntyre (3) capitalized on a bad breakout pass out of the London defensive zone.  Jake Brown set up the marker.  Brown’s assist moved him into a 3-way tie for the GOJHL playoff scoring lead.  Shots were even at 13-13 in the period.

Trailing 2-0 in the game and the prospect of falling 2-0 down in the series prompted the Nationals with another strong period.  Reinhart was busy facing down 22 London shots while Zanussi only saw 6 shots.  London’s best chance to score came on an excellent wraparound attempt by Quinn Lenihan where Reinhart was cleanly beat on the play.  The Elmira netminder was bailed out by the reach of 6’ 6” defenseman Spencer Comelli who made the vital save.  Zanussi kept his mates in the contest with an outstanding stop on Zack Cameron on a clear-cut breakaway.  Zanussi was pulled for an extra attacker with three minutes remaining but the Nationals could not solve Reinhart.

Finals shots favoured London 49-24.  Elmira did an excellent job of cutting off the Nationals passing and shooting lanes to the net during their many powerplays.

David Honsberger

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