The John F. Ross Royals had no magic left for the Centre Wellington Falcons in the District 4/10 high school boys' hockey league's championship match Thursday in Fergus.
A day after ousting the second-place Orangeville Bears in the semifinals, the third-place Royals fell 5-1 to the first-place Falcons in the final at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex.
"The boys played probably as well as they could play yesterday," Ross coach Rod Evans said. "We rode the high, but it's hard to turn it around real quick and refocus. No excuses, though. They (Centre Wellington) played Tuesday and we played Wednesday."
The Royals went into the final hoping that the short turnaround might have been blessing as they didn't have too much time to celebrate the semifinal victory.
"I was hoping," Evans. "I was hoping we'd carry the momentum in, but we got off to a really slow start yesterday up in Orangeville and the exact same thing happened today."
While there was a comeback in the semifinals, there wasn't one in store for the Royals in the final.
"It's tough to come back," Evans said. "But two days in a row against good teams - Centre Wellington is as good a team as I've seen in District 10 this year."
Despite the loss, the Royals advance to next week's CWOSSA AAA championship tournament as the second D4/10 team. The Falcons, who are to host the tournament next Thursday and Friday at the Sportsplex.
The match featured a bit of an oddity as the game started on one of the ice surfaces at the Sportsplex and finished on the other. The game began on the older, larger surface but a leaky ceiling that left a patch of the surface covered in water forced the game to be moved to the smaller, newer pad midway through the first period.
Centre Wellington led 2-0 at the time of the move and the break in play allowed the Royals to regroup a little as there were no other goals in the opening period and the teams scored once apiece in the second before the Falcons put the game away with a pair of goals three minutes apart early in the third.
Will McFarlane scored the lone goal for Ross two and a half minutes into the second period. Nate Berry and Johnny Murray assisted on the play.
Kyle Roden and Ryan Mueller scored twice apiece for Centre Wellington while Riley Klompmaker had the other goal. Jack Tokarz, Luke Hoelscher and Roden each had two assists.
The teams will be in opposite pools in the CWOSSA tournament. Ross will be in a pool with the first- and third-place teams from Waterloo County (to be decided early next week) and the Brant County champion Paris Panthers who are coached by former Guelph Hurricanes coach Peter Crosby.
"We're looking forward to next week and seeing what we can do," Evans said. "We saw some of the Kitchener teams at the McCurley tournament in December and we match up all right."