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Applejacks beat rival Braves for first time this season

Wellesley Applejacks

Coach liked what he saw from his players as the visiting Wellesley squad skates to a 4-3 victory.

Jake Wilkinson led the Wellesley Applejacks to a 4-3 win over the Tavistock Braves on Saturday, scoring a power play goal in both the first and third periods.

His first goal was the only goal by either team in the first 20 minutes. Joe Heath and Nick Mercier drew the assists.

“Any time you’re on the road it’s a tough game, but we battled through and we got the win. The first period was probably our strongest period of the game. We were ahead 1-0 after the first, and the boys really stuck to our game plan and things went really well. I’m really pleased with the first period,” said head coach Brad Gerber.

Tavistock’s Mackenzie Sealy gave the Braves a quick goal two minutes into the second frame, helped by Jake Wiffen and Shaun Pickering.

A minute later Wellesley fired back, as Brady Gerber scored unassisted.

Ryan Cadwell and Angus Rowland put the score 3-2 in Tavistock’s favour, only to see it tied up with 10 seconds to go in the period as Wellesley’s Tyson Bender (Braidon Kerbs, Gerber) scored. Cody Bateman (2), Wiffen, and Kieran Van Boekel provided assists for the Braves.

“The second period we got away from our game plan and obviously we got in trouble. They outscored us in the period and we got into some penalty trouble. We just got away from our whole game plan, which was a little frustrating for the coaching staff. At the same time we regrouped and put a good third period together to pull the game out,” Gerber said,

Wilkinson’s second power play goal came at 3:16 in the third, helped by Nathan Schlupp. The Braves were unable to tie the game up to send it to overtime, instead giving the Jacks the win.

The Braves racked up 45 penalty minutes and Andrew Bogdon was ejected. The Jacks totaled 35 minutes in the box and Mark Lebold was ejected.

“There’s a pretty good rivalry there between us and Tavistock, so obviously they enjoy beating us as much as we enjoy beating them. It was a good win for the boys. Tavistock’s ahead of us in the standings as well, so it’s always nice to beat a team that’s ahead of you in the standings,” Gerber said.

This was the first time this season the Jacks have beat the Braves, having lost to them 3-2 and 6-2 on Oct. 24 and Nov. 6 respectively.

He said there are usually good crowds when they play each other, which pumps the boys up a bit more.

The biggest challenge still seems to be getting the team to play a full 60 minute game the way the coaches want them to play.

This month their goal is to get back to an even record.

“We are getting close to the .500 mark again and it would be nice to get back there. I feel as a team, it being a rebuilding year for us, it’s been a pretty successful year so far with so many new faces on the team. As a coaching staff we’re pleased with that so far,” Gerber said.

The Jacks are fifth in the league of nine teams with a 9-12-1 record, exactly the same as their Junior B affiliate, the Elmira Sugar Kings.

Gerber commends Kerbs for his perseverance versus the Braves.

“Our third goal, the one that tied the game up late in the second period, it was a lot of hard work by Braidon Kerbs. He used his speed and took advantage of Tavistock’s defenseman and really created that goal late in the second to get us back into it. He’s a new player on our team and with his speed and just the way he plays the game he had a good game for us that night,” Gerber said.

He notes goalie Ryan Porter played well for them as well.

They’ll be working on their special teams this week in preparation for the weekend.

“It’s a team effort. Everybody contributed and that’s what you need to win.”

The Jacks travel to Burford on Saturday to play the Bulldogs and are back in Wellesley on Sunday night for a 7:30 p.m. game against the Woodstock Navy Vets.

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