The Wellesley Applejacks split their second weekend of the regular season with an overtime loss to Ayr and an easy win over Burford, leaving them tied for second place in the division with New Hamburg and Paris.
The Jacks faced the Ayr Centennials for the first time this season on Sept. 22, narrowly losing 4-3 in overtime.
“I thought in Ayr we played two great periods, but with that being said, any time you don’t get the two points you’re disappointed,” coach Brad Gerber said.
He added they played well the first two periods, but they need to continue that level of play into the third period to beat teams like Ayr.
Wellesley’s Jordon Hoekstra opened the scoring in the first on a power play, assisted by Alex Uttley. Ayr’s Riley Clipper evened the playing field with his own marker, helped by Zachary Masterson and Cole Cummings to finish the first period 1-1.
The Centennials pulled ahead early in the second, as Simon Galvao (Quinn Diamond, Matt Patton) scored. Successful shots on net from Nick Mercier (Uttley, Hoekstra) and Tyson Bender (Cal Jefferies, Sean McEwan) gave the Jacks the lead to head into the final frame. All goals were earned on power plays.
Ayr managed to sink their third goal of the night on a power play in the third from Clipper again, assisted by Jake Whibbs and Galvao to take the game into overtime.
Ayr captain and former Junior B Elmira Sugar Kings captain Mitch Klie got the puck past Jacks net minder Ryan Hergott to end the game 4-3 in Ayr’s favour, 90 seconds into overtime. Eric Uba and Mackenzie Kemp picked up assists.
The game was much closer than it would have been this time last year between the same teams. Gerber attributes this to the group of returning Applejacks this season and the quality first year players.
“Until you beat them, until you actually do it, you’ve got to prove that you can beat them on a regular basis as well. I think it’s a real booster for the guys knowing that we can play with them and it’s hopefully a matter of time before we can finally get a couple points off of them,” Gerber said.
The Jacks spent Saturday volunteering at the Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese Festival before heading to Burford on Sunday, where they skated to a 9-3 win over the Bulldogs.
“It’s nice to see them in the community helping out like that. I think the players actually had as much fun as the kids did,” Gerber said.
Wellesley controlled the puck in the first, scoring twice on the power play. Hoekstra and Mario Alyas scored, while Jake Wilkinson, Mercier and Greg Huber picked up assists.
The second period was full of scoring by both sides, as Wellesley put another five points on the board to Burford’s three. Goals for Wellesley came from McEwan (Jefferies), Jefferies (Mercier, Nick Palmer), Brick (Alyas), Huber (Brenden Goran), and Brick again (Alyas, Palmer). Burford goals came from Connor MacKay (Hayden Hellyer, Jakob Miller), Matt Zilke and Hellyer (Jesse Szabo, Austin Grech).
As if those weren’t enough to cement their lead, McEwan and Wilkinson (Hoekstra) scored in the third to make it a 9-3 final.
“The first period was pretty good, the second period we outscored them in the second, but we had some breakdowns in our own end and that can’t happen,” Gerber said.
He commends both goalies Ryan Hergott and Ryan Porter for their goaltending to begin the season.
He’s hoping they can secure a few more wins in their next three away games before they hold their home opener on Oct. 8.
The Jacks head to Woodstock on Sept. 30 to face the Navy Vets, followed by an Oct. 1 game in Paris against the Mounties.