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Jacks discover that losing feeling

A strong start to the OHA hockey season turned sour for the Wellesley Applejacks, who lost three consecutive games last weekend to New Hamburg and Ayr.

The game on Oct. 12 against the New Hamburg looked promising in the first minutes of play when Connor McLeod shot one past Firebirds goalie Graeme Lauersen at 8:08 to open the scoring. But even Jacks coach Kevin Fitzpatrick was not prepared for the level of play his team would face:

Jacks go down as opponents pile on top. [elena maystruk / the observer]
“We missed some real opportunities in the second period and they capitalized on them. They just wore us down. We hadn’t played a team of that intensity level,” he said looking back at the weekend.

The next six minutes would yield results for the Firebirds, who got three in a row behind netminder Josh Heer.

Wellesley pushed back with the final goal of the period, making the score 3-2. When the Jacks scored their third goal it was 1:23 into the second and the Firebirds came back with a goal of their own before Wellesley’s Reid Denstedt scored his team’s final goal, assisted by Luke Rose.

The 4-4 tie was short-lived. New Hamburg broke the impasse at 11:53 when an attack by three Firebirds on the Wellesley net resulted in a goal by Sean Kienapple. That shot opened the floodgates in the third, which saw New Hamburg finish the game 7-4.

The Jacks faced Ayr the next night and fared no better. Wellesley was at a fever pitch in the opening frame when Devon Wagner and Mark Detzler drew first blood with two goals in the first eight minutes of the game, but lost the momentum by racking up the penalties.

“We self-destructed,” Fitzpatrick said. “This team up to that point was the least penalized team in the league; it was really out of character.”

Still, Wellesley had no intention of backing down in the second frame when they got two more past Centennials’ Bobby Brown, only to see Ayr fight back with two goals of their own.

Though it looked like a promising game for the Jacks, with a 4-2 score by the end of second, Ayr would soon flip the odds and dominate in third with 17 shots on net to Wellesley’s three, skating away with a 5-4 victory over the home team.

The Jacks would continue the lost weekend in a home game rematch against New Hamburg that saw the visitors steamroll Wellesley once more in Sunday’s 6-2 game.

The Jacks were the only team to score in the first period, going up 1-0 after 20 minutes.

New Hamburg got on the board in the second, potting a shorthanded goal when the puck flew past two Wellesley defencemen and onto the stick of Matt Yantzi.

Wellesley went up 2-1 less than two minutes later, but it was all Firebirds after that.

The home team seemed to lose its fighting spirit, leaving New Hamburg to score three more before the intermission. After the break, the visitors added two more, leaving the defeated Jacks in the dust.

Wellesley players will have a chance to redeem themselves this weekend when they travel to Travistock, Hagersville and Burford.


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