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Christmas wish of health

 Dolphins wishing for healthy lineup


   Junior hockey team heads in to Christmas break with a sub .500 record



  December 20, 2022


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By Rob. J. Ross 

DORCHESTER, Ont. - All the Dorchester Dolphins want for Christmas is a healthy lineup.

Following a fourth loss in six outings, to the Mt. Brydges Bulldogs, 5-1, Sunday, the Dolphins have slipped to sixth place in the Yeck Division of the Provincial Junior Hockey League.

Heading into the Christmas break, the Dolphins are below .500, at 11-12-1-1, with 24 points, nine out of fourth place, and 14 points back of first place Thamesford.

"We've had a bit of an injury bug," assistant coach Chris Masse said, after losing 4-1 on home ice, to the Exeter Hawks, December 18. "I'd say the biggest problem is the consistency of a full lineup. It wears the guys down when you don't have four lines."

The Dolphins only had 13 players against Exeter, a game they led 1-0 for nearly half the game. Dorchester took a team of 14 players to Petrolia, for a 4-0 win, December 15.

Most teams go through injuries during a season, but the Dolphins are without two of their top scorers from last season, captain Dylan Vandersleen and Jakob Marche and their number one goalie Jackson Mailloux.

A few players have missed games due to suspensions and school.

"A little bit more discipline, so we don't get suspensions would be nice," Masse said "It's tough on the ice sometimes to always keep your emotions in check, but you have to think of the guys in the room."

Cole Smale gave the Dolphins a 1-0 against Exeter and it held until the Hawks scored three times in six minutes over the second half of the middle period.

The Dolphins made it tougher on themselves by spending 18 minutes in the penalty box.

"A couple we definitely shouldn't have took and a couple were questionable," said Masse. "It's tough to get the mojo after so many penalties. We were on the penalty kill eight times and with a short bench, it takes a lot out of the guys. It's tough to be on the penalty kill and switch back to create offence and then, oh, right back in the box."

At Petrolia, Nicholas Sheaer, Jack Uniac, Curtis Nogueira and Josh Short scored, with goalie Connor Nelles making 28 saves for the shutout.

Short had the lone goal against Mt. Brydges, another game that the Dolphins had 18 minutes in penalties.

Now with nearly three weeks off, as the Dolphins don't play again until a home game on January 6. The wish is the Dolphins will be over their injury bug come the new year.

"We haven't a full lineup, so a lot of teams haven't seen our full lineup yet," Masse said. "We're middle of the pack, but we want to get up in the top three. When we get everybody back, we'll see what we can do from there. Then we can start gelling and get rolling."

Masse adds, he, head coach Mark Steele and the rest of the coaching staff believe the team is better than their current record.

"We can go on a run at any time," Masse said. "We just have to get the guys back. We do need to go on a bit of a heater and get some confidence. Win a a few games and you never know. It could lead to four, five, six wins."

Paterson MacNair leads the Dolphins with 16 assists and 28 points. Shearer has a team high 13 goals, one more than MacNair and Short. Defenceman Jack Uniac has six goals and 13 assists.

The Dolphins have added soon to be 20-year old forward Dylan Bradburn, from the Thamesford Trojans. Five goalies have played at least one game in the Dorchester net this season.