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Coach sees positives as Jacks split pair

A solid win and a near miss left Wellesley Applejacks coach Kevin Fitzpatrick with plenty to be happy about last weekend. A strong effort Dec. 3 in a 4-2 loss to Delhi was quickly followed by a convincing 6-2 victory over St. George.
A well-fought game Dec. 3 in the Wellesley Arena was ultimately won by Jake Legein of the Delhi Travellers. The forward scored all four of the visiting team’s goals, to edge out the Applejacks. It took almost 30 minutes of back-and- forth play before the first goal was scored, but after Wellesley’s Michael Forster put the first marker on the board 7:55 into the second period, it was fast and furious from then on, with six more goals before the end of the game.

“We played well together as a team,” said Fitzpatrick. “It was a close game.”

The first period was uneventful, with both teams having good power play opportunities and putting up more than 10 shots, but neither team was able to find the back of the net.

The second frame was where the crowded arena full of fans got their money’s worth with four goals scored in less than seven minutes – two by each side – keeping the game tied going into the third period. The line of Shawn Fitzpatrick, Corey Way, and Michael Forster came alive this period, with all three players contributing to both of Wellesley’s goals.

The third was a much more defensive period, with the lowest shot total of the three frames (9-4 in favour of Wellesley). Yet, with only four shots on net by the Travellers, the evening’s star player, Legein, was able to add two more to cap a four-goal night. With time running down, Wellesley was not able to tie it up before the buzzer sounded.

PROTECT THE NET Wellesley’s Stephen Lewtas does his best to get in the way of a Delhi player while netminder Kurt Martin keeps a close eye on the puck during the Applejacks’ home game Dec 3.

“We have a number of players out with injuries at the moment,” said Fitzpatrick. “But even with the really depleted lineup we played really well. Everyone came out and worked hard.”

The following night, the Jacks travelled to St. George where that hard work eventually paid off.

They began the game on a strong note with a goal by Shawn Fitzpatrick on the power play just under five minutes into the period. Later, Eric Parr replied shortly after. St. George notched a goal of their own before the they headed back into the dressing room with Wellesley up 2-1.

During the second period the team got frustrated by an inability to reach the back of the net, Fitzpatrick said of the frame in which only the Dukes were able to score a goal.

“We got out of that funk pretty quickly though, and we just ran with it from there.”

It was all Jacks in the third, however, starting with Lewtas bulging the twine just 28 seconds in, assisted by Eric Parr and Matt Aspden.

The string of unanswered goals continued just a minute later, as Josh Herd scored one from Mark Hamilton and Justin Milne.

Wellesley kept the 4-2 lead into the final minute, when an empty-netter by Jake Steenson at 19:17 was followed by Ben Ahier potting one just seven seconds later. Both goals were unassisted.

“It was an all-around 60 minutes of good effort,” said Fitzpatrick. “Everyone came out and worked hard and we had good goaltending. I am happy with how the weekend went.”

Last weekend’s games put Wellesley in third place in the McConnell Conference. The Jacks play again on home ice Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

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