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Jacks’ split weekend is not to coach’s liking

The Wellesley Applejacks earned a win and a loss at home on the weekend, but the coaching staff wasn’t overly impressed with the team’s play.

Up first, the Jacks hosted the winless Delhi Travellers.

In looking at the standings, this should have been an easy match up for the Wellesley team. They came out with the 3-1 win on Saturday night at home, but they had to battle for 60 minutes to get there.

“I wasn’t really that surprised, to be honest with you. The last month or so they have competed a lot and the games they’ve played, they’ve been much closer and they’ve given some teams a scare. Saturday we saw firsthand. They compete hard, they block shots and they’ve got one heck of a good goalie,” said head coach Brad Gerber.

The Jacks took the lead halfway through the first period on a power play goal from Nick Palmer. Nick Mercier and Jordan Hoekstra assisted.

Delhi tied it up in the second on a goal from Jared Prekup, helped by Chi Tonin and Peyton Van Boekel.

The game stayed locked until 15:52 in the third when Brenden Goran gave the Jacks the lead again. Palmer and Mario Alyas assisted. Jordan Hoekstra secured the win with his own goal less than a minute later on the power play. Mercier and Greg Huber were helpers.

Wellesley goalie Ryan Hergott didn’t have too much action between the pipes, stopping 14 of 15 shots. His Delhi counterpart, Sam Roy, saved 44 of 47 shots. Both teams did reasonably well staying out of the box, with Wellesley tallying 20 minutes in penalty time to Delhi’s 22.

“Without the puck we played pretty good, we only allowed 15 shots, so we were happy with that. But just the finish and the intensity, that side of the game I don’t think we were as sharp as we can be or should be,” Gerber said.

The Jacks turned around less than 24 hours later to host the Woodstock Navy Vets. They were able to bring the game back from a three goal deficit to just a one-goal game, but would eventually fall 3-2.

Woodstock’s Andrew Bruder scored early in the first period, assisted by Austin Sine and Jacob Brown.

“Sunday then, as a coaching staff we weren’t very pleased with that game. Obviously we got down 3-0 and came back to make it a 3-2 game, but too little too late. You get down to most teams in this league by three goals and you’re not going to come back and that’s exactly what happened,” Gerber said.

Bruder found the back of the net again in the second. Jack Taylor and Austin Richardson assisted. Chris Nauts gave Woodstock a 3-0 lead unassisted shortly after.

Wellesley finally got on the board late in the second period with a power play marker from Alex Uttley, assisted by Cal Jefferies and Shaun Pickering.

Uttley scored again late in the third, assisted by Pickering and Palmer, but the clock ran out before they were able to tie the game.

Colt Jaime scrambled in front of Delhi’s net in the second period, attempting to give the Jacks the lead while the game was tied 1-1. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]

Wellesley spent 39 minutes out on penalties to Woodstock’s 32, largely for fighting early in the third period. Ryan Porter took the net for Wellesley and stopped 21 of 24 shots. Woodstock’s Mike Harrison made 31 saves on 33 shots.

Gerber says the work ethic wasn’t there again and they weren’t mentally tough enough on Sunday.

“It’s been going on for about three or four weeks now, we’ve got to get better at it. I think the players need to take some ownership here and think about it and be mentally ready,” Gerber said.

He says some players are trying to do too much and they need to just keep it simple. They’re hoping to pull out two wins for their last two games of 2016, but they will both be a challenge.

“You look ahead now and we’ve got Paris at home Friday night and then between Christmas and New Years we go to Norwich before the year is done, two very tough games. And I’ve always said nothing comes easy and this is definitely going to be a real test for us,” Gerber said.

He expects a healthy roster for 2017 including assistant captain Sean McEwan who has been out with an upper body injury for two months.

The Jacks also held their teddy bear toss at the Saturday night game where people were asked to donate new stuffed animals, collecting 182 contributions from the ice.

Assistant captain Brenden Goran also started a GoFundMe campaign to gather donations for the cause and more than $800 was raised.

The Jacks have one final home game this year on Dec. 23 at 8 p.m. versus the Paris Mounties. They’ll head to Norwich for their last game of 2016 to face the Merchants on Dec. 30. They start off the new year on Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. with a home game against the Burford Bulldogs.

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