The Wellesley Applejacks took it on the chin pretty good last weekend.
The idea is that the squad will learn something from it.
They can’t undo it, but head coach Kevin Fitzpatrick and the rest of the coaching staff hope the squad will learn something from the experience after losing at home to the Delhi Travellers.
Having opened the season with five straight wins, the Jacks now sit in sixth place, winning only one of the last seven games.
Wellesley came out strong against the Travellers, scoring two minutes into the first period when Corey Way found Mitch Metzger, who slipped the rubber past Delhi netminder Nick Heath.
A second goal for the Jacks would come from a Mark Detzier and Connor McLeod combination.
Down by two, the Travellers rebounded and took control of the period, scoring a pair of goals two minutes apart to tie the game 2-2 after 20 minutes.
The second period saw the teams exchange two more goals. Delhi got things rolling at 7:20 with a shot from just inside the blue line by Jake Legein that beat Jacks’ goaltender Jordan Bauman.
Wellesley would answer two minutes later when Kevin Howorth fired a wrist shot above the right shoulder of Delhi’s keeper, with James Mildon and Blair Witmer claiming assists.
During a penalty that saw Delhi with the man advantage, the Jacks would give up the fourth goal of the evening to Travellers’ forward Harrison McRobert, who beat Bauman during a scramble in front of the Jacks’ net at 16:48.
With less than two minutes remaining in the period, Wellesley evened up the score at 4-4 when Howorth fed Way who fired a shot hard along the ice that eluded Heath.
The third period saw some strong defensive plays by both teams, but at 11:55 the Travellers would seal the game when forward Travis Harper put one behind Bauman. Final score: 5-4 in favour of Delhi.
Heath finished the night with 31 saves on 35 shots for the win, while Jacks netminder Bauman would save 42 of 47.
“We played a very inconsistent game of hockey. We started off well but the penalties were what did us in,” said Fitzpatrick. “We missed a lot of wide open nets and hit the post too many times.
We could have very easily won that game and should have won that game.”
Fitzpatrick said his team needs to come out and play a full 60 minutes of hockey, adding that when they get a lead they can’t sit back but must continue to work.
“Delhi is a very good hockey team and if you give them an opportunity to get back into the game they are going to take it; all of a sudden the third period is a battle, which it never should have been.”
The coaching team plans to make a few changes in practice this week and mix up the line combinations to see if the Jacks will form a tighter group on the ice.
“Once we had a two-point lead the boys got it into their heads that is was going to be an easy game, but they have to start to understand there are no easy games in this league and there are no easy points: it doesn’t matter what team we face,” said Fitzpatrick. “We have a few players that have never played Junior hockey before and they have to come into the rink better prepared, as we come to win.”
The Jacks next game is against the Ayr Centennials at home tonight (Saturday). Game time is 7:30 p.m.