The Wellesley Applejacks suffered two more disappointing losses last weekend, extending their losing streak to five games.
“We had every opportunity to win the game on Saturday and on Sunday,” said coach Kevin Fitzpatrick. “We’ve got to fight back. We’ve got to play better and more consistent with more energy.”
On Jan. 22, the Jacks visited the St. George Dukes for what started out as a promising game. Wellesley owned the first period giving themselves a substantial lead over the Dukes, but failed to follow through.
Michael Forster took it to the net at just nine minutes into the first, assisted by Corey Way and Tim Stern, while the Dukes were shorthanded. The second goal was scored by Ben Ahier, with Kevin Howorth assisting at 12:13. The two would swap roles for a repeat performance at 15:29, with Howorth finishing the play.
“It’s probably the strongest period we’ve had in two months,” said Fitzpatrick. “And then we just sagged a little.”
With just 2:22 left in the first, the Dukes got on the scoreboard with a goal by Ron Dark (Shawn Little). The period ended with the score 3-1 for the visitors.
The Duke’s Dark would be the only player to score in the second, finding the back of the Jacks’ net at 14:36, assisted by Jamie Snow and Bruce Moffat.
The Jacks wouldn’t score again on Saturday, but the Dukes rebounded scoring two in a row at 14:09 and 14:27 into the third, bringing the final tally to 4-3.
At home to take on the Delhi Travellers the following day, the Jacks played a better game but still came out on the short end of the score.
Wellesley’s Eric Parr got things going with a goal just 5:57 into the game, assisted by Matt Aspden. Delhi returned with three minutes left in the first tying the game 1-1.
The game would be tied four more times before finishing in overtime, starting with the top of the second period. The Travellers led off by scoring just 30 seconds into the frame, leaving the Jacks’ Tim Stern to quickly counter at 1:09, assisted by Way.
Wellesley’s Parr, assisted by Aspden, would pull the team ahead at 2:23, making the score 3-2, where it would stay until 8:33 when Delhi took advantage of a powerplay. Howorth returned the favour nine seconds later, putting
Wellesley up 4-3 as the period ended.
The final 20 minutes saw Delhi score twice, at 3:24 and 8:31, broken up only by a powerplay goal by Stern (Way and Michael Forster). Regulation ended with the teams tied at five apiece.
The five-minute overtime period went scoreless until Delhi potted the winning goal with just 12 seconds left to play.
“They’re working. They play hard. They just have to play that much harder,” Fitzpatrick said of his charges, who aren’t capitalizing on their chances. “We played well in both those games, we just didn’t win.”
Going into the end of the season the Jacks are healthier then they have been and dressed 20 players for both games.
Fitzpatrick believes they are no longer being hampered by their injury list. The coach would like to see more practice time for the team before the playoffs, but said ice time was not in the cards at the crowded Wellesley arena.
The mood in the dressing room continues to be solemn, as the team prepares for the playoff season.
“They’re frustrated: we should be winning these games. We won five in a row and we’ve lost five now. This time of the year, people turn it up for the playoffs; we’re starting, but we’re not their yet.”
The team plays again at home Sunday, hosting the Tavistock Braves. Game time is 3 p.m.