Riding a four-game winning streak, the Wellesley Applejacks are gaining ground on the pack in the Midwestern Junior C standings.After stumbling out of the gate 3-9, a coaching change –Paul Wilkinson resigned and Tim Robb took over – and a three-game stretch against the winless Travellers have propelled the team to 7-9.
While they remain in second-last place, the streak leaves the club just a couple wins short of the tight group sitting in the numbers four through seven slots. And there is plenty of hockey left to be played.
Last weekend, the Jacks swept a home-and-home series against Delhi with a 7-0 blow-out on the road November 7 and a 2-1 overtime victory the following night at the Wellesley arena.
“I though we got off to a really good start,” Robb said of the win at Delhi. “We scored on our second shift of the game and it just kept on going from there. The guys had a lot of energy.”
Tyler Seguin opened the scoring 1:22 into the game from Blake Hetherington and Reid Denstedt. Three minutes later, Hetherington added one of his own from Jake Wilkinson.
Late in the period, Hetherington notched another, assisted by Denstedt and Seguin.
In the second period the goals kept piling up, as Mackenzie Sealy (Jacob Younger, Brady Gerber) and Cal Jefferies (Wilkinson) each found the back of the net.
And in the third, with a new Delhi netminder between the pipes, the Jacks sealed the deal with goals by Tysen Willemsen (Chris Beauchesne, Matt Schieck) and Jefferies (Schieck).
While the firepower certainly jumps off the score sheet, Robb made sure to acknowledge Jack’s starting goalie Tim Bester’s performance.
“Timmy (Bester) played really fantastic for us. He made some key saves (27 total) and we were very happy with the result down there.”
The shutout – his first of the season – improved Bester’s save percentage to .914 on the year.
On home ice the following evening, the Travellers put up a better effort.
“You can’t take them lightly at all,” Robb. “They have some good scorers and their goalie stood on his head.”
The game remained scoreless through the first two periods, despite a 28-12 shot advantage for the Jacks.
Finally in the third, Delhi broke the draw with a goal at 3:28.
But they couldn’t hold onto the lead, as Schieck (Jefferies, Sean McEwan) put one home at 13:52 to force overtime.
Then, it was the captain, Denstedt, who came through for the home side with a power play marker from McEwan and Parker Wood.
“Overall I am happy with the way our guys played,” Robb said. “We were short bodies and we had some guys playing out of position, but the group played hard and came through with a win.”
This weekend the competition gets stiffer. The Jacks are homebodies, welcoming the Paris Mounties Friday night and the New Hamburg Firebirds Saturday. Game time both nights is 7:30 p.m.
To keep rolling, the Jacks need to “stay disciplined and bury their chances when they get them,” Robb said.