Specialty teams were a factor in a weekend that saw the Jacks settle for three points in as many games. A tie against Woodstock was followed by a loss to Ayr and win over Burford.
Starting the weekend rally in Woodstock up against the Navy Vets on Friday night, the game ended in a 5-5 tie. There was no scoring after seven minutes of 3-on-3 overtime.
“A point on the road, though, we’ll take it,” said head coach Brad Gerber, mentioning that the Navy Vets nearly doubled the Jacks’ shots on goal count. “Woodstock is a good team, and they have a big rink. They certainly know how to skate. We both came away with a point.”
Brenden Goran started out scoring with a goal from Lucas Spence early in the first. Woodstock was quick to respond with their own from Chris Jensen, assisted by Justin Helms.
Heading into the second period, Woodstock took the lead quickly with two goals, one from Jensen and a second from Jack Taylor less than two and half minutes in. Brady Gerber and Jordan Hoekstra brought the game back to a tie by the buzzer.
In the third, Wellesley took the lead with a marker from assistant captain Alex Uttley nearing the end, but lost it to Jensen on the powerplay. Less than two minutes later, Cal Jefferies brought Wellesley ahead, but it wasn’t enough. Woodstock pulled their goalie, and with an extra attacker, scored with only 13 seconds left, bringing the score to 5-5.
On home ice on Saturday night, the Applejacks fell to first-place Ayr Centennials by a score of 6-2. The Jacks’ penalty kill wasn’t in tip top shape, with five Ayr goals with the man advantage.
“We got caught up in the penalties there, and it just didn’t go our way. Ayr is really good on the powerplay, and we just couldn’t get in front of them,” said Gerber.
The teams exchanged punches between goals, resulting in 62 minutes in the box for Wellesley after some calls that didn’t go their way. The Centennials racked up a few more minutes, but were able to capitalize on their chances.
The game was off to a good start for Wellesley with Jefferies sinking the punk, shorthanded, assisted by Shaun Pickering. The lead didn’t last long, however.
Ayr’s Quinn Diamond (Mitch Klie, Alex Mutton) and Zachary Masterson (Riley Clipper, Mackenzie Kemp) both scored, both on the powerplay.
Ayr dominated the second period, with goals from Clipper, Diamond and Klie, all on the powerplay. Brady Gerber had an unsuccessful penalty shot 10 minutes in, while Spence scored Wellesley’s only powerplay goal from Pickering and Uttley.
Yet again on the powerplay, Ayr’s Mutton scored two minutes into the third, closing out the game with a score of 6-2.
On Sunday, the Jacks took two points with a win while visiting the Burford Bulldogs. The final score was 5-1.
The game was off to a slow start with a lone goal, coming from Burford’s Tyler Hinde. The second period was also short of scoring, with just one coming from Wellesley’s Hoekstra, assisted by newcomer Matthew Gauthier and Nick Mercier.
Heading into the third tied at 1-1, the Jacks took charge, scoring four unanswered goals. First up, Hoekstra from Mercier and Uttley. Jefferies made it 3-1 with a marker from Seamus Mooney and Matthew Lantz. Gauthier, playing in only his second game with the team, potted two goals. The first on the powerplay from Scott Martin, and the second with assists from Tyson Bender and Uttley.
“We were tied up at the end of the second, but in the third, the puck just seemed to bounce our way, and we got four in a row there, and came away with the win,” said Gerber.
Added to the roster on Saturday, Gauthier is proving to be a valuable addition to the team. The forward comes from Guelph and first caught Jacks’ coaching staff’s attention at the Elmira Sugar Kings’ prospect camp in August. An injury prevented him from joining the team earlier in the season, but now that he is here, Gerber says he can’t wait to see what he brings to the team.
“He did really well for us this weekend and actually scored twice for us on Sunday. He is a strong forward for us.”
The team faces last-place Delhi in a home-and-home series this coming weekend. Despite the opponent’s low ranking in the conference, Gerber says the guys can’t rest on their laurels.
“We are just going to be looking at the little things, going for a 60 minute game, 20 minutes at a time. Most of the league has had a lot of success against them, but I don’t want to jinx ourselves here. It is a tough league to play in and we always have to be on top of our game,” he said.
The puck drops against the Travellers at 7:30 p.m. in Delhi on Friday night. They face off again in Wellesley on Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.