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Applejacks lose battle to Tavistock in double overtime

Reid Denstedt eyes the goal during the Wellesley Applejacks’ 3-2 victory over the Norwich Merchants Oct. 11 at the Wellesley arena.

Double overtime wasn’t enough time for the Wellesley Applejacks to defeat the Tavistock Braves, as they fell 3-2 last Saturday after a tight game.

More than 100 stuffed animals were collected during the Jacks’ annual Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 27.[Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
More than 100 stuffed animals were collected during the Jacks’ annual Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 27.  [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
Wellesley’s Josh Bickell opened the scoring five minutes into the game, helped by Reid Denstedt. But when presented with a power play, Tavistock’s Jake Wiffen (Jared Yantzi, Tayler Trachsel) fired one past goalie Tim Bester to tie things up.

General manager Bill Grebinski said despite coming so close to winning it was a good game.

“That’s a couple now in a row we’ve lost in overtime,” Grebinski said. “So close, we just can’t get that bounce. We had a couple opportunities we missed. The guys are enthused. It’s not like they’re losing games and they’re down.”

Both goalies remained vigilant in the second frame, not letting any pucks slip past their grasp, despite Tavistock attempting 13 shots on net, to Wellesley’s six.

The Braves pulled ahead early in the third period with a goal from Dylan Yantzi (Trachsel, Maverick Petrie). They didn’t keep their lead long though, as the Jacks’ Cal Jefferies tied it three minutes later, assisted by Tyler Seguin and Matt Schieck. Jefferies leads the team in points with 14 goals and 17 assists.

“I don’t think the statistics indicate the type of games we’ve been playing,” Grebinski explained. “We really haven’t had a lot of big losses. One goal here, one goal there. Obviously we want to turn that around and win those keys game going forward.”

They headed into overtime where despite having seven shots, Tavistock couldn’t end the game. But 22 seconds into double overtime Tavistock’s Jordan Ritsma (Matthew Lupton) scored a clutch goal.

Tavistock outshot Wellesley 49-25. The Braves spent 24 minutes in the penalty box compared to the Jacks’ 14.

“We don’t want to sit in eighth place in playoffs,” Grebinski said. “Ideally we’d like to slide somewhere up around sixth. If we don’t get there they know mentally it’s Ayr or New Hamburg in the first round, which would be a tougher game for us.”

He said the big difference between their team and Ayr is age. They’re carrying a much younger team. He expects a few players will move to Junior B and one player will go to Tier 2 Junior A next year.

“We’ve done a great job in developing the players that want to move forward. We’ll have a lot of returning players and that’ll help us for the next two years,” Grebinski said.

Their newest player, Hayden Stewart, had his first game with the Jacks against Tavistock. They acquired him from Barrie via the Burford Bulldogs.

“He’s a young forward and has a lot of energy and he’s a really gritty player,” Grebinski said.

He added they’re working to bring in another guy from Barrie who will hopefully be playing this weekend. This would fill up their roster.

“We’re back to full strength now. Everybody’s healthy and the holidays are pretty much behind us so Sunday’s game should be putting us back into focus,” Grebinski said.

The Jacks held their annual Teddy Bear toss on Saturday. The first Wellesley goal of the night was met with a downpour of stuffed animals from the crowd. More than 100 were gathered and donated to pediatrics units in Stratford.

The Jacks return home January 4 to play the Burford Bulldogs. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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