The Wellesley Applejacks will only get a week’s holiday from play during Christmas, but coach Kevin Fitzpatrick says it is a much needed break as a number of teammates are off the ice with injury or illness. This last week’s play saw the team lose to the Tavistock Braves 7-4 and then beat the Burford Bulldogs at home, 4-1.
The game Dec. 17 in Tavistock was a wild one, with both teams combining for 11 goals. Overall, Tavistock was too much for the Jacks to handle. Other than a quick first-period goal by Wellesley’s Matt Aspden, the team was catching up for the rest of the game. Ultimately, the Braves’ effective powerplay (three goals in five chances) put Wellesley too far behind.
Tavistock had more shots, more scoring opportunities, and capitalized on them more often.
“It sounds like an excuse, but between illness and exams, we just didn’t really stand a chance,” said Fitzpatrick. “By the end of the game we had only 13 guys in the lineup.”
By the following day, the Jacks’ luck had turned around.
This game provided quite the workout for the goaltenders at either end – both peppered with more than 40 shots. Wellesley’s Jordan Bauman stopping 51 of the 52 shots he faced.
With Bauman’s exceptional play, Wellesley had the opportunity to go on the offense, converting on four of their 43 shots.
The only one that got by Bauman did so eight minutes into the game. From that point forward, it was all Wellesley on the score sheet. They were able to tie up the game a few minutes later on a goal from Spencer Aspden on the powerplay. That tally was followed by one from Read Shantz less than two minutes later, putting the Applejacks ahead 2-1 going into the first intermission.
Period-two was full of shots and penalties. With almost 20 shots faced at either end, both goaltenders played exceptionally well to keep their respective teams in the game. But the story of the second period was the never-ending string of penalties. With 28 minutes for infractions and two misconducts, most of the period was played with fewer than 10 skaters on the ice.
The third period provided Wellesley the opportunities they needed to put this game away. Although they were outshot again, 18-15, they worked for quality, not quantity, as they capitalized on two of their key scoring chances with goals from Josh Herd and Mark Hamilton. Those markers helped the Jacks put the game out of reach, as they were able to hold of the Bulldogs for a 4-1 victory.
“We played pretty well against Burford,” said Fitzpatrick. “But none of the guys was complaining about not enough ice time. Right now we have four separated shoulders, a torn rotator cuff, a guy with torn ligaments in his ankle, a nasal infection, one with pneumonia and two with the flu. We’re ready for this break.”
The Jacks play next at home Dec. 29 against Ayr. Game time is 7:30 p.m.