After dropping one to their rivals in Tavistock, the Jacks come back strong to beat Delhi on home iceAnother weekend, another split pair of games for the Wellesley Applejacks. In what is fast becoming a weekly pattern for the OHA team, the Jacks lost first (5-3 to the Tavistock Braves on November 8) before gaining momentum for a victory (5-2 over the Delhi Travellers on November 9).
“We continue hot and cold,” remarked head coach Rob Way. “One game we don’t play so well, and the next game we play really strong.”
He continued, “That’s something we’re really trying to work on with the kids, and say, ‘Y’know what? A champion team needs to be consistently strong all the time.’ The talent is there, the work ethic can be there, but we have to bring it every night. Right now we’re bringing it basically every other night.”
The Jacks currently rank sixth out of the nine Midwestern Junior C competitors, with an even 7-7 record.
On Tavistock ice November 9, fortunes shifted back and forth between the Jacks and the Braves. Tavistock scored first at 1:29, followed by Wellesley’s Luke Rose (assisted by Mark Detzler) at 2:48 in the second period. Then, two more by Tavistock at 5:15 and 6:26, then another by Wellesley at 15:05, courtesy of Blake Heatherington. In the third period, the Braves managed two goals, while Wellesley’s Mackenzie Shantz (Hetherington, Mckenzie Carter) scored the last point at 17:05. But when the back-and-forth was tallied, Tavistock took the lead 5-3.
Friday’s game marked Wellesley’s third loss against Tavistock this season.
“For whatever reason, over the last couple of years, Tavistock tends to play Wellesley really tough,” said Way. “In my opinion, we’re more talented as a hockey team than they are. So we’ll just have to figure it out.”
Way emphasized that the team is not intimidated by the Tavistock rivals. “They’re going to go in really pumped, and I’m going to make sure they’re really pumped, because we want to make sure the next time is in our favour.”
The Jacks had better luck on home ice on Saturday against the Delhi Travellers. Delhi scored the first goal at 6:41, but Devon Wagner (Brett MacDonald, Justin Lebold) countered at 15:58, and Reid Denstedt (Wagner, Taylor Doering) pushed it to a lead at 17:51.
Delhi was able to sink one more goal at 6:01 in the second period, but the rest of the game belonged to Wellesley’s Alex Stoody, who brought the score to 5-2 with a hat trick: at 19:22 in the second, and at 7:53 and 11:19 in the third.
The Jacks also outshot the Travellers 44-36.
“It was a pretty close game until partway through the second period,” said Way. “There was a play where Alex Stoody made a nice hit along the boards, and it freed up the puck, and he went in and scored. We carried the momentum through the rest of the game.”
When asked to compare the two games, Way noted that the Jacks had more drive against Delhi.
“One of the things I did against Delhi was, I took our three rookies and put them together on one line. They started the game, and their goal was to go out and play the whole first shift in the other team’s end. They did that. They really played hard.”
The Travellers rank second-to-last in the division, but Way says that’s no reason to underestimate them.
“I think Delhi has some good players and good speed, and they worked hard,” he said. “On any given night, a team can beat another team – you have to bring your A-game. You need to play well, or you’re going to get beat.”
The Jacks are back on home ice tonight (Saturday) to face the New Hamburg Firebirds. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.