The Wellesley Applejacks gave it everything they had, but unfortunately, their season came to an end on Saturday night in the second round of the playoffs.
Up against the Paris Mounties in Game 6, the Jacks fell 3-1 despite huge effort from the players.
Head coach Brad Gerber says he was happy to see the team coming together and working hard, however, it would have been great to see the team advance further.
“We fought with everything we had. It is very disappointing the way we lost. I thought at times we deserved a better result in that series,” he said. “It is disappointing, and it is hard to believe that we are done, but that’s hockey. That is just the way it goes.”
The Jack nearly doubled Paris in shots-on-goal, but managed only one goal. The Jacks’ lone goal came unassisted from Alex Uttley in the first period. Even with two five-on-three opportunities, Wellesley couldn’t put any more pucks in the net.
Paris’ Brady Wheelans scored two of the Mounties’ three, with Mitchell Harvey clinching the win in the third on the powerplay.
“We outshot them on Saturday night. We out-chanced them, and we just couldn’t figure out how to score when we needed a goal, but they did. They had a couple of guys that hurt us, and scored for them on a regular basis throughout the series. We just couldn’t find a way to score those goals we needed,” said Gerber.
The coach says he was pleased to see the boys push a Game 6 in the series after a blow-out win in Paris’ own barn on Mar. 1. Down 3-1 in the series, the Jacks won the game 5-2, bringing the series back to Wellesley. He says the guys managed to get ahead of the opposition.
“On Wednesday, we went down there, we had our backs against the wall and we knew that we could win down there. The guys proved it. They played a great game. We controlled the game all night. We outshot them and I think it was a good solid win,” he said. “We took the scoring chances we had and we put enough of them in the net. That made Paris play from behind, which they haven’t much. Paris definitely plays a different game when they aren’t leading the game.”
Things didn’t start out too well for Wellesley last Wednesday, with Paris’ Brett Wilson starting scoring in the first. The second period was a different story.
Uttley put Wellesley on the board, followed by another from Greg Huber on the powerplay. Jordan Hoekstra made it 3-1 before the buzzer.
In the third, Paris tried to stage a comeback with Wheelans on the power play, but the Jacks wanted to cement their win. Shaun Pickering and Kyle Soper brought the score to 5-2.
Now that the season is over for the Wellesley Applejacks, Gerber can look back and say the team accomplished what they set out to do in the fall of 2016. The Jacks finished the regular season in third place with a 24-14-2 record.
“As far as the whole season, our goal in the fall was to finish in the top three, and we did that. Our goal was to do well in the playoffs, and it would have been nice to get to our league finals, but we were only a couple of games short,” he said. “It is a tough league. We know what we need to do to take that next step and we are definitely working hard at it.”
There are a few very valuable players who aren’t going to be on the roster next year, having aged out of the league. Gerber wanted to highlight their contributions to the team this season and previous.
“We are losing some very important parts of our club here in Wellesley. Our captain, Cal Jefferies, assistant captains Brenden Goren and Sean McEwan and Nick Palmer. Those guys are a big part of our team, so we will definitely be missing them,” he said.
The team is already looking ahead to the 2017-2018 season, with a date set for their summer camp. Staff will be looking at new talent in the area, keeping the team’s future in mind. The camp is on May 27.
The annual Wellesley Applejacks awards banquet will be held on Apr. 7.