For two periods the Wellesley Applejacks were able to fight off the visiting Burford Bulldogs, but they couldn’t stretch it into the final frame, ultimately falling 5-1 on Wednesday night.Burford’s Kyle Walker was the first to get on the scoreboard at 2:18 in the first period, assisted by Jesse Brooks and Alex Hall. Applejack Matt Schieck gave hometown fans some hope with one of his own, helped by Alex Uttley and Justin Plant to end the first.
“We’re starting to show some emotion as a team, which was nice,” head coach Tim Robb said. “I was kind of hoping to get some more lift out of it than we did, but we didn’t. It’s sometimes the way the cookie crumbles in the game of hockey.”
Both teams fought fervently for the puck in the second but weren’t able to make any offence happen. Despite a solid effort, the Jacks broke apart in the third as Burford found the back of the net four more times. Goal scorers were Brooks (Anthony Van Looyen, Walker), Chris Grand (Brooks, Adam Harris), Mark McGregor, and Brooks (Matt Kliewer, Matt Dipaolo) on an empty net.
“All in all it was a good effort; again, just a little short on the goal scoring,” Robb said. “We know that. We’ve been focusing on that, getting pucks, trying to get bodies to the net, following pucks to the net. It’s an area of focus for us. Their goalie made some big saves. Timmy made some good saves for us. It was a very exciting game.”
Penalties abounded for each team, as Wellesley had 12 infractions to Burford’s 10. Burford’s Blaise Burtnick and Wellesley’s Justin Plant were both ejected from the game in the third period for fighting.
The Jacks fell 4-2 to the Paris Mounties on home ice last Sunday, despite a scoreless first period and a tight second period.
Uttley scored less than two minutes into the second frame, assisted by Tyler Seguin and Taylor Doering. Paris’ Ryan Stephenson (Austin Sine, Merrit Crumback) evened things out on a power play opportunity late in the second.
Despite the loss, Robb said they played well.
“When we compete for the entire 60 minutes of the game, we’re never going to be out of any game,” Robb said. “These guys can play with anybody when we compete for 60 minutes. Whether we win or not, we’ll compete for 60 minutes. Hopefully we can do that all the time, that’s the goal.”
Wellesley wasn’t able to recover as Paris made three successful goals before Doering managed to get their second of the night, with just 10 seconds left. Paris goals came from Tyler Arsenault (Sine, Andrew Heibein), Sine (Brady Wheelans, Brett Wilson), and Scott Sippel on an empty net.
“We are working on some different strategies to play against Ayr knowing we are going to play them in the first round, and hopefully we can slow them down offensively and hopefully then create some offensive from it,” Robb said. “That’s our focus and it’s been our focus for a couple weeks. Some of it’s showing, some of it’s not. Sometimes you get the bounce, sometimes you don’t.”
The Jacks headed to Burford on Friday for a rematch and are back home for their last regular season game on Saturday against the Norwich Merchants at 7:30 p.m.