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Dolphins split games on opening weekend

Dolphins split season opening games


 Dorchester defeats Aylmer, 4-2, loses to Lucan, 2-1, in overtime



team width= Dorchester Dolphins goalie Deklan Jermol makes a save on Lucan Irish Cameron Reif during PJHL action September 15 at Dorchester. Lucan won 2-1 in overtime. (photo / Rob J. Ross)


By Rob J. Ross

DORCHESTER, Ont. - The Dorchester Dolphins are similar to a freshly painted car waiting for its clear coat.

Lacking a finishing touch.

On the opening weekend to the Provincial Junior Hockey League season, the Dolphins did pick up three points, doubling up on the Aylmer Spitfires, 4-2, Sunday at Aylmer, after dropping their home opener, 2-1, in overtime, to the Lucan Irish, Friday at the Flight Exec Centre.

"I can't fault the effort in either of the two games. We came away with three points. It was a good team effort," Dolphins' head coach Chris Willsie said. "I was impressed with our effort and our discipline for the most part. We had a few penalties. For the most part guys are buying into the team first concept. They're holding each other accountable on the bench in a positive way."

Josh Short and Nicholas Shearer scored three minutes apart mid third period, breaking a 2-2 tie at the Spitfires' home opener.

The Dolphins out shot the Spitfires, 52 to 22, including shelling their host, 30-4, in the first period, but only led 1-0.

"It was similar to Friday night where we were getting a lot of time in their end and a lot of shots on net, but having trouble finding the back of the net," Dolphins' head coach Chris Willsie said. "I give our players credit. They stuck to it and didn't get too frustrated. Even when Aylmer came back to tie it 2-2 in the third, you can frustrated because you're out playing them, out shooting them, yet the scoreboard says you're even."

Dorchester led 2-0 on goals by Dylan Bradburn in the first period and Jordan Daer on a early second period power play.

Ethan Berry put the Spitfires on the board late in the middle period, before Ethan Whitmore tied the game four minutes in to the third period.

At their home opener Friday, the Dolphins out shot the Irish, 39-22, but managed only one goal, on the power play, early in the third period to tie the game.

"The effort was there. The boys had a lot of energy in the dressing room before the game and they showed that on the ice in the first period," Willsie said. "We were taking it to them pretty good and the puck was most of the time in the offensive zone. But when you don't put a team away, they can hang around and the small things can beat you if you don't capitalize on your chances."

Lucan's Alex Demelo broke a scoreless game mid second period.

Shearer tied the game, with assists to Tage Gallant and Jarrett Humphries.

Austin Ma won the game for Lucan, 37 seconds into overtime, on the power play.

The Dolphins took a boarding penalty with less than two minutes remaining in the third period.

"It's a tough not to make so I understand the ref," said Willsie. "I thought the guy turned. I don't blame our player because he's already committed to the hit. The way it looks and sounds, that's going to get called a lot."

Overtime wouldn't have decided the game, if more than one puck was buried during regulation time.

"If we capitalized on our chances earlier in the game, that penalty wouldn't have mattered. We would have had a little cushion to absorb some of those little mistakes," Willsie said.

"Sometimes when pucks aren't going in, you can start trying to do too much or trying to make the perfect play. They're (players) doing the things we want them to do, but not seeing the results. But we have to stay the course and stay calm."

Against Aylmer, Austin Connors with two, Short, Daer, Paterson MacNair, Humphries, Caleb Haalstra, Tristan Gerth, picked up assists.

Down one player heading into the game, the Dolphins lost centre Janson Holcombe to injury early in the first period.

Then the Dolphins had to kill nearly a two minute span down two men in the second period.

"Our PK was very good," said Willsie. "Nelles held us in there until we found our scoring touch in the third period."

Goalie Connor Nelles made 20 saves for the win.

Ethan Berry and former Dolphin Ethan Whitemore, scored for Aylmer.

The Dolphins visit Exeter and Thamesford, September 22 and 24th, before returning home September 29 to host the Spitfires.