Goderich Flyers' head coach Chris Corbett believes his team will "get there", but many players have a lot of growing up to do.
His comments come after the Flyers gave up a 1-0 first period lead to the powerful Walkerton Hawks, who erupted for five goals in the second period en route to a 6-3 victory in Provincial Junior Hockey League play.
Chase Meurs set up linemate Cody Treble for Goderich's first goal at 17:12 of the opening period at the Maitland Rec Centre Saturday.
Walkerton responded with two goals 16 seconds apart within the first minute of the second period.
Trent Michie slipped the puck past Hawks' netminder Cody van der Heide with 1:52 left in the middle frame, with assists from Matt Bean and Morgan Benneweis.
Meurs closed out the scoring from Chad Treble at 6:36 of the third period, after Walkerton scored to widen their lead to 6-2.
Justin Donnelly and Adel Zivojevic scored two goals each in the win -- Gary Mantz had four assists for Walkerton.
Corbett says many players on the Flyers' roster are rookies, who are still getting used to the pace and grind of junior level hockey.
He says many of them are having to adjust quickly to playing against seasoned 20 and 21 year-olds who have gone deep into the playoffs, and won division championships.
The loss leaves Goderich in seventh place in the PJHL Pollock division with a 3-10-0 and-1 record, while Walkerton stays one point ahead of Kincardine in second place with 22 points.
The Flyers travel to Wingham for a 3:30pm game Sunday then return home to host Mitchell on Friday, while Walkerton hosts Hanover in a 2:20pm face-off Sunday.
One other PJHL Pollock Division game Saturday saw Blake Lewis net the game-winner in the second period, as first-place Mount Forest defeated Mitchell 5-2.
Lucas Bowers scored the lone goal for Exeter, in a 4-1 PJHL Yeck Division loss at Dorchester Saturday.