Wednesday, January 12th, 2011


Sluggish Navy Vets shot down by Spitfires



WOODSTOCK -- For two teams with sputtering offences, last night's total of four goals between the Woodstock Navy Vets and Aylmer Spitfires shouldn't have been a surprise.

What was surprising, though, was the Navy Vets' lack of intensity during a 3-1 loss in front of a sparse crowd at Southwood Arena. Woodstock squandered a chance to move past Paris in the Niagara West Division.

"It wasn't the same effort we've had the last couple of games," Navy Vets captain Devon Young said. "We came out flat a bit (and) just didn't play with the same intensity we have been and it showed."

Woodstock entered the game 5-5 in its last 10, which was a major improvement from its early season struggles. During that stretch the Navy Vets beat second-place New Hamburg and third-place Aylmer. Woodstock played league-leading Norwich tough in a pair of losses.

For whatever reason, Woodstock had a difficult time sustaining any momentum against Aylmer.

"People feed off of each other," Young said, "and maybe if one guy doesn't do something, then it moves to the next guy, too."

Aylmer was the beneficiary, though Spitfires head coach Mike Shewan admitted it wasn't his team's best effort.

"We came in and we told them our advantage is team speed," he said. "We used it in the first and third (periods) and took it off in the second period. A win's a win, especially this time of year."

Aylmer (15-10-5) moved three points ahead of Simcoe for third place. The Spitfires' 104 goals ranks fourth in the West Division, ahead of only Paris (93) and Woodstock (90).

Mark Pfohl scored a pair of goals to tie Travis Schruder for the team lead with 16. Curtis Maracle added a goal and assist to increase his team-leading point total to 39.

"Our problem all year is we're not an offensively explosive team and put up six or seven (goals) a game," Shewan said. "We did play well defensively and we had a lot of chances. So did they, but both goalies made some good saves."

Brian Valentine made 25 saves for the Spitfires, while Woodstock's Neil Pittock s strong play with 32 saves.

"Pittock played a great game for us," Young said. "He's been playing well. He's our go-to guy now."

Derek Cowing extending his point streak to six games with his team-best 18th goal of the season in the first period. The 17-year-old moved into a tie for 12th in the Niagara League with his 34th point.

Woodstock (7-19-4) will need secondary scoring if it wants to leapfrog Paris and out of the West Division basement.

"It's the biggest thing we have right now," Young said. "It's our goal to finish in fifth place. We didn't get off to the best start but we're playing better now."