Jacks start season on the offensive

Wellesley Applejacks

The Wellesley Applejacks earned themselves four points on the road last weekend, winning their season opener in Tavistock in convincing fashion before skating over Delhi.

On Sept. 16, the Jacks played their first matchup of the regular season against the Braves, winning 6-1.

Every goal was scored by a different player.

Newly named captain Cal Jefferies scored the lone goal in the first period, 10 minutes in with help from Sean McEwan and Tyson Bender.

The Jacks dominated the second period, with goals from assistant captain Alex Uttley, helped in by Jordon Hoekstra and Seamus Mooney four minutes in and from Bender at 14:18, assisted by Nick Mercier and Sullivan Murphy.

Tavistock opened the scoring in the third, with a goal from Kick Zehr two minutes in. The Applejacks were quick to fire back with a goal from Hoekstra less than two minutes later. McEwan (Jefferies) and Spencer Brick, from Brady Gerber, closed out scoring for the game.

Head coach Brad Gerber is happy to see the guys sharing the load on the ice, scoring points on different lines.

“That is really nice to see this time of year. We are a team that likes to roll four lines, and when you get production from every line, it is easy to do,” he said. “It is something that we can hopefully keep doing. It is nice to have the scoring spread out, for sure.”

In Delhi on Sunday afternoon, it was a bit of a blowout, with Wellesley putting 11 pucks into the Travellers’ net. Delhi answered only twice.

Wellesley started the count with a goal from Shaun Pickering from Scott Martin and assistant captain Brenden Goran less than three minutes in. Delhi answered with one of two markers from Chad Ingall, assisted by Jared Prekup. Jefferies put the Jacks in the lead, unassisted, less than a minute before the buzzer.

The second period saw five goals from the Jacks, two from Jake Wilkinson (one on the powerplay), one from Mercier from Hoekstra and Mooney, a second from Jefferies and the fifth and final goal of the period from Matthew Lantz from Mark Lebold. Delhi scored one at 11:05, from Jack Gee on the powerplay while Lantz was in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Delhi held Wellesley off for the first half of the third, before allowing four more goals, bringing the final score to 11-2. Goals came from Lantz, assisted by Goran and McEwan, from Hoekstra with help from Mooney and Martin, the third from Brick to Mercier and Lebold and finally from Uttley on the powerplay, helped by Mooney.

The Travellers finished last in the league in the 2015-2016 season, but Gerber says even with plenty of goals scored against Delhi, there are still things the Jacks need to work on.

“The guys played well, but in a game like that, it is hard for the guys to focus and not get into bad habits,” he said. “Everybody wants to score and everyone wants to get a point. I thought that even though we won the game, and we are very happy with that as a coaching staff, at the same time, there were times on our end where we weren’t as good as we should have been.”

The team will be facing off against last year’s Shmalz Cup champions, the Ayr Centennials tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m. in Ayr, and the Burford Bulldogs on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Before they hit the ice for two more games away, Gerber says the guys have a couple of areas in need of improvement.

“We have got to learn to get the puck out the first time, and just learn to play better without the puck,” he said, mentioning that there were a few too many penalties from the Jacks side of the rink this past weekend. “Friday night, the guys were just excited to get the season started. They were a bit too excited and took some calls.”

On Sunday, the energy was a bit different.

“Sunday’s game was actually quite calm, but at the end of the game, in the last two minutes, one of our guys got hit from behind, and the referee started throwing calls. Four of our guys got 10 minute misconducts. It didn’t escalate after the initial hit, and that was 40 minutes right there. We only had 14 minutes in penalties before that happened,” he said.

The league is known for being a bit rough, and that is something Gerber is working on with the players this year.

“We are really talking to the guys this year, because we don’t want to waste our energy killing penalties, and we don’t want our guys to be spending 10 minutes in the box. We are trying to get the guys to be a bit more disciplined, saving our energy for more important things,” he said, adding that he saw progress in Tavistock on Friday. “I give the guys credit, though. On Friday in Tavistock, they tried to get us off our game, by playing that style, but I gave our guys credit all weekend for trying to stay out of scuffles after the whistle and stuff like that. The guys are aware of it and we are working at it.”

The team won’t be playing at home until Oct. 8. when they’ll welcome the Norwich Merchants.

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