The Wellesley Applejacks scored six power play goals in a big win against Tavistock on Sunday night at the Wellesley arena.
In their second-last game before the Christmas break, the Jacks beat the Braves 7-3. Jake Wilkinson and Nicholas Breault led the charge with two goals apiece, all on the power play.
Head coach Brad Gerber says Tavistock is a physical team, and Wellesley capitalized on that.
“[Tavistock] likes to play that way and we knew that going in,” he said. “We got six power play goals, which is a really good thing for us. I thought we did a great job on the power play and it is what we work on in practice. It was a five-man unit out there, and they were all doing the same thing. The biggest thing is that we were getting pucks to the net.”
Tavistock players spent a total of 40 minutes in the box, however the Jacks had their fair share of penalties as well. The ref had an eagle eye and was calling it as he saw it.
“I think some of the penalties were iffy. [The ref] called a close game,” he said, adding that taking unnecessary penalties was something the boys will need to work on. “One thing we need to learn to do is respect the referee and know that when he is calling it like that, we have to be very disciplined. We tell the boys to keep a cool head, stay focused and if we stay out of the box, we’ll be okay. It is tough to do and it is frustrating for the boys. Every time we play Tavistock, they are a physical team.”
Breault started the tally on the score board, with a goal for the Jacks off Sean McEwan and Jackson Keller while Braves’ Ryan Cadwell sat pretty on a hooking call, starting the forward momentum for the game. Try as they might, Tavistock couldn’t catch up.
The second period started with two more power play goals for Wellesley, the first from Keller, from Nick Mercier and Spencer Brick and the second, nine minutes in from Breault from Cal Jefferies and McEwan.
Tavistock replied with a power play goal of their own, but it didn’t go unanswered – Mercier scored off Brady Gerber just seconds later for the Jacks’ fourth goal of the game and the only full-strength tally on the home side of the scoreboard.
The braves started the scoring in the third, with Jared Yantzi getting one past Jacks goalie Ryan Porter eight minutes in. Wellesley responded with three consecutive power play goals while Tavistock players kept the penalty bench warm. First up, Wilkinson from McEwan and Shaun Pickering at 9:10 into the third. Just over two minutes later, Brenden Goran scored his only point of the game with a power play goal from Alex Uttley and Mercier. Jake Wilkinson scored his second of the game five minutes later, with help from Mercier and Breault.
In a final push, Tavistock tried to get a bit farther ahead with a goal with just a minute and half left. The Jacks held them off until the final buzzer, ending the game with a final score of 7-3.
Gerber says Wilkinson and Breault showed up for the team on Sunday night, putting the puck to the back of the Braves’ net four times between the two of them.
“Breault, he is a first year player, and it is a long season for a lot of these guys coming out of Midget AAA. He had a good start, and kind of mellowed out a bit, but he is really starting to pick it back up now. He is a natural goal scorer, and he really knows how to put the puck to the back of the net,” he said. “Jake Wilkinson as well. He has been a really solid player for us ever since he got back. We are more than pleased with his play.”
The team played one more game last night against third place Paris, and after that, the boys get a break.
“Those are the teams that you want to beat, the teams that are ahead of us,” said Gerber. “We don’t have to play again until Jan. 3. We have some practice nights in between, but the pressure is off a little bit. There is nothing better than getting a couple of wins before Christmas and really relax and come back ready in the new year.”
Gerber says that when January comes, the team’s focus is going to be on playoffs, which are coming up fast. The end of the regular season is on Jan. 30 for the Jacks.
“It is just about moving up in the standings. The playoffs are right around the corner – they are really coming fast. I think home ice would be really nice in the first round of playoffs, so that’s obviously a goal of ours,” he said. “Just to stay healthy. Right now, we have a full lineup and that makes a huge difference. That’s rare. I’m knocking on wood. We don’t want to peak too soon, but we want to keep getting better at all the little things on the ice on both ends of the rink. Just think positive, stay healthy and keep the momentum going.”
After Sunday’s game, the Jacks are sitting fifth of nine teams, with a record of 13-13-1. After Wednesday night’s game, the boys have just 12 remaining on the schedule.
Their first game of the new year is at home against Woodstock Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m.