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Jacks split a pair, losing to Braves and beating Navy Vets

With the Applejacks’ first home game only a week away they’re busy closing out their stretch of seven away games, most recently posting a loss to Tavistock and a win against Woodstock.

They fell 5-2 to the Tavistock Braves on September 26 and defeated the Woodstock Navy Vets 4-1 on September 30.

Head coach Paul Wilkinson said they can’t seem to get a good winning streak going.

“Against Tavistock we didn’t have a great game, I would say,” Wilkinson said.

One of the factors is they have quite a few rookies. But he still thinks they’ll be able to compete in the months to come, despite being sixth of nine teams in the Junior C league.

Another real issue against Tavistock was the refereeing, he said. The Applejacks racked up 71 minutes of time in the box, compared to the Braves’ 22 minutes. He said it seemed like the referee had tunnel vision when it came to seeing penalties against his players.

“I think at one point we only had three forwards because the rest were in the box,” Wilkinson said.

So with suspensions and penalties, it was hard to make a go of it. They had seven penalties in the first period alone, for everything from cross checking to abuse of officials. Tavistock didn’t make a visit to the box until nearly 11 minutes into the second period.

Wellesley’s Taylor Doering banked the first goal of the night at 6:51, assisted by Eric Heffernan. But the first period was finished off with two points by Tavistock’s Shaun Pickering, the first of which was on a power play. Assists came from Liam Kelly, Matthew Lupton, and Jake Wiffen.

Wellesley started the second period’s scoring off once again, with a power play goal from Reid Denstedt, assisted by Cal Jefferies and Coleton Madge at 11:21. But Tavistock would return the favor two-fold with successful shots on net by Spencer Sullivan (Josh Higgins, Matthew Lupton) at 13:09 and Darcey Butler (Tristan Hohl) at 17:09.

In the final period with just five seconds left to go, Higgins found himself an open Wellesley net and took full advantage, finishing the evening. He was assisted by Liam Kelly and Braedon Hancock.

Wilkinson said he’s looking forward to playing on home ice soon, and hopefully the home crowd can help boost the team’s fortunes.

“It’ll be nice to be in our own arena, in our own dressing room,” Wilkinson said.

Their game against Woodstock fared much better on Tuesday, a nice change from the 5-2 loss they suffered to them on September 12.

While the first period proved uneventful, it didn’t even take 30 seconds for the Applejacks to get down to business in the second, as Denstedt cashed in a mere 13 seconds into the period, assisted by Jacob Younger and Paul Morra. The scoring streak continued with Chris Beauchesne (Matt Schiek, Denstedt) at 11:03 and Tyler Seguin (Sean McEwan, Taylor Doering) at 19:38.

Woodstock finally managed to change the scoreboard in the third period thanks to Justin Elms (Dylan Wettlaufer, Jake Schneider) at 2:53.

But the Applejacks couldn’t let them end on a high note, so Doering slipped the puck into an empty net unassisted at 19:01.

Captain Reid Denstedt and goalie Tim Bester stood out as solid players this week for Wilkinson. He remains hopeful for the rest of the season and says if the boys work, they’ll be able to compete.

“We’ve got to play more consistent hockey, which we didn’t.”

In New Hamburg Friday night, the Jacks play a game in Norwich October 10 before their long-awaited home-opener October 11 against the same Merchants squad.

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