A last-minute goal gave the Orillia Experience Nissan Kings a dramatic 11-10 victory over the Newmarket Saints Saturday night to help the local Jr. B lacrosse team salvage a split of their weekend games.
The visiting Kings got off to a fast start against the Saints, built a well-deserved 6-2 lead by the midway point of the second period and looked to be in full control. But the Saints chipped away and closed the gap to 8-5 heading into the third.
Early in the final frame, Newmarket scored four straight goals to leapfrog ahead of the Kings 9-8. But veteran Matthew Campbell helped turn the tide when he scored a critical power-play goal to tie the contest. Less than a minute later veteran Trent Boyd scored to give Orillia back the lead.
But with 90 seconds left, Newmarket knotted the score and overtime loomed. However, Campbell scored with just 33 seconds left on the clock to put the dagger in the heart of the home-team as Orillia prevailed in the back-and-forth contest at the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex.
Campbell and Chris McLaughlin sparked the offence with three-goal efforts, while Dallin Blunt potted a pair. Single goals went to Boyd, Owen King and Trent Rowe. Tyler Goodchild was the top playmaker with four assists, while Teagan Meredith and Boyd each had a pair of helpers. Dylan O'Rourke picked up the win between the pipes.
"It was nice to win but it wasn't pretty," said Kings president Joel Campbell, who noted the game was, at times, an exercise in frustration. "But the boys showed some grit and fought back to get the (win). Hopefully, this will help us turn the corner."
The win was a confidence booster after Friday night's poor effort at home against a beatable team from Brampton. After a tight-checking first period that saw the two teams battle to a 1-1 draw, Brampton exploded for six goals to surge ahead 7-5 after 40 minutes. The Kings tried to fight their way back into the game, but the visitors took advantage of some costly mistakes and scored two power-play goals and a short-handed marker in the final nine minutes to earn the 13-8 decision.
For the Kings, McLaughlin led the way with three goals, while Blunt, King, Meredith, Campbell and David Wilkie netted single tallies. Wilkie had his best game of the season as he also chipped in four assists. Goodchild had three helpers, while O'Rourke was charged with the loss.
The Kings sport a 2-4 record and will look to climb back to the .500 mark this weekend as they have a pair of critical home games. On Friday night, the Kings will host Mississauga (4-0) in an 8 p.m. contest at Rotary Place. On Saturday, the Kings will host Oakville (1-4) at Rotary Place. Game time is 7 p.m.
KINGS THINGS: The Kings have yet to win at home in two contests at Rotary Place. Despite a sub-par 2-4 record, the Kings' 53 goals scored ranks them fifth among the 12 teams in the eastern conference. The Kings' annual golf tournament will be held May 28 at Hawk Ridge Golf and Country Club. There are some spots still available for golfers. If you're interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org.