The Jacks had been playing a lot of extra hockey heading into a 10-day break, ending the run with an overtime victory Nov. 3 in Hagersville.
The win against the Hawks saw the Wellesley squad bound back from a pair of OT losses to the Tavistock Braves and Burford Bulldogs.
“Everything that I was complaining that we didn’t do against Tavistock and Burford, we probably played the best team game that we have played all year,” said coach Kevin Fitzpatrick.
The Jacks were five players short heading into the game, forcing them to call up Mark Detzler from their Twin Centre Midget team. He played defence, and Fitzpatrick was pleased with his performance.
“He ended up playing a lot of hockey that he probably didn’t expect, and he did a great job.”
Wellesley opened the scoring at 15:12 of the first with the only goal of the period. Chris Bauman potted his second of the season, assisted by Corey Way and Rob Hinschberger.
Hinschberger added to the lead early into the second period, with his fifth goal of the campaign at 1:03, from Bauman and Way, making it 2-0.
Hagersville made it a one-goal game a short time later when Derek Medeiros scored at 2:50.
Through the first two periods it was a fairly even game, and the shots were almost even at 30-27 in favour of the
Hawks. In the third, however, Wellesley let Hagersville back into the game with the tying goal at 5:56.
The Applejacks responded 10 seconds later though by skating right down the ice and re-taking the lead, 3-2, thanks to Justin Roeder, from Bauman and Metzger. The Hawks tied it up at 3-3 at 10:54, and the period ended without any more scoring, sending the Jacks to their third consecutive overtime.
The Jacks’ special teams broke through in the extra frame, thanks to an undisciplined play by Hagersville’s Dakota Powless. At 2:57 he was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for slashing, and the Jacks made them pay. Way won the game in overtime with his third point of the night, from Hinschberger, at 4:05.
“They’re a very good team,” Fitzpatrick said of Hagersville, which leads Wellesley by two points in the McConnell Conference standings. “To go down there on a Wednesday night that many short, it would have been pretty easy to mail it in and say ‘well we’re missing these guys.’ We came out strong.”
The solid play of Hinschberger, Way, and Bauman certainly helped too. The three stepped up in the absence of their teammates, and had a goal and two assists each on the night.
The win pushes the Jacks record to 7-2-2 through 11 games, a vastly improved record over last season, already matching their win total when they went 7-23-6 to finish last in the conference. They are positioned well in the standings, trailing the division-leading Tavistock Braves by four points, with a game in hand.
The Jacks have had the past 10 days off, returning to the ice in Port Dover tomorrow (Sunday) at 2 p.m. against the Sailors.
“I was dreading the time off, but when you look at the injuries that we’ve got, we needed the time off,” said Fitzpatrick about the layoff between games.
Not only were the Jacks short five players going into their game against Hagersville, Fitzpatrick said they lost three more players to injury in the closing minutes of the third period and into overtime.
“We’re going to have to play a lot of games in the next few weeks to catch up, but you know what, we’ve been hard-pressed to put 15 healthy bodies on the ice.
“I got a text from one kid who hurt his knee and he said he can practice this week, and another guy who hurt his shoulder and he’s had about 14 days off, so [the time off] is great.”
The next Jacks home game is Nov. 19 at 8:30 p.m. when they take on the Ayr Centennials.