The Wellesley Applejacks continued their woeful ways on the weekend, losing 5-2 to the Ayr Centennials. The loss extends the team’s skid to 11 games.
The home loss Dec. 20 was a painful pill to swallow for the Jacks, who are now scraping the very bottom of the league standings with a record of 5-15-4.
After the game, general manager Dave Litt voiced his frustration with a team he believes still has what it takes to reverse its course this season.
“That wasn’t a 5-2 hockey game, by no means,” said Litt, noting that a lack of luck, a number of silly mistakes, combined with some questionable officiating proved too much for the Wellesley squad.
“They came at us, we maybe broke down a little bit, a couple breakdowns cost us that hockey game.”
The Centennials were the first to get on the board, scoring with just one second left on the clock in the opening period, a bone of contention for Litt, who argued that the buzzer had already blown before the puck crossed the goal line.
In the second period, it took Ayr just 1:56 to score again, courtesy of Dave Murray. The Centennials smashed in three more unanswered goals to make it a 5-0 game by 7:23 in the second.
It wasn’t until 11:37 that the Jacks were able to get on the board; Dan Berwick notched the goal, with assists from Kurt Atchison and Brett VanGerwen.
With 5:42 left on the clock in the third frame, Read Shantz, from Pat Doyle, made it a 5-2 game. It was a beauty of a play orchestrated by Doyle, who, on the penalty kill, hovered riskily on his own blue line, waiting for the puck on a transition. He did just that when he picked up the puck and raced into the Ayr zone, cut in through the right side, avoided a hip check before circling the net and then threw the puck out in front, where Shantz drove it home. But by this point in the game, the goal was virtually meaningless: the Centennials were too far ahead for the Jacks to make a comeback.
Despite their poor record, Litt maintained a positive attitude.
“We’ve got a talented group of guys here, they’re just underachieving. For whatever reason, we spin our wheels and we seem to get in situations, we make mistakes and they put them in the net.
“Keep your heads up, keep working hard and good things will happen. You’ve got to keep these guys positive, if we don’t keep them positive we’ve got nothing,” said Litt.
Not counting any rematches for postponed games, the Jacks have just 15 games left on the season schedule. They travel tonight (Saturday) to St. George to take on the Dukes, looking to get an early crack at turning things around in 2009.
Litt is confident his team has the talent and the dedication to make that happen.
“Sooner or later those players have to do it, and I’d say come the new year, we’ve got to do it. We’ve got too talented a hockey team to go out the way we are.”