The Wellesley Applejacks split a pair of games on the opening weekend of their 2017-18 season. While the record shows as 1-1, the GF/GA numbers were much more skewed: After dropping a 4-2 decision on Friday night, the team bounced back to post a 12-0 win.
The team played first against the Navy Vets in Woodstock on September 15 before travelling to Delhi the following night.
The Applejacks kicked off their season with a fast start against Woodstock, drawing first blood with a power play goal from defenseman Kyle Soper, assisted by Zach Ribeiro and Shaun Pickering.
However, Woodstock soon recovered, potting one of their own in the first and then scoring the only goal in the second frame with less than a minute on the clock. Down 2-1 heading into the third, the Applejacks had their work cut out for them – and the gap quickly widened.
Woodstock owned the ice in the final frame, quickly scoring two more goals in the first six minutes of play, and securing a 4-1 lead over the visitors.
Wellesley fought back with a second power play by defenseman Nick Mercier (Pickering), but with 10 minutes left on the clock, could not get past the Woodstock team for the two more goals that they needed. The game ended 4-2 for the Navy Vets; it was a fierce bout, with Wellesley getting six power plays over the 60 minutes of game time, and Woodstock nine.
“Going into Woodstock Friday night, the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but I think it was a (lesson) for the guys. You know, we’ve got to play 60 minutes – you have to compete at all times,” said head coach Brad Gerber about the loss. “We’ll take what we can from it.”
Saturday, the Jacks were on the road again, this time to Delhi to compete against the Travellers; and they skated to a resounding 12-0 victory.
“Going into Delhi we did a lot of talking because of the game the night before, and we wanted to make sure the guys were ready to play and compete,” said Gerber.
For the coach, it’s not the number of points on the board that he’s most proud about, but rather the quality work of team’s defence.
“Scoring 12 goals is great, but as the coaching staff I think we were more impressed that we held them to no goals, and they only had 16 shots. And that’s one thing we really want to drill into these guys, is that defence wins hockey games and that a good defence turns into a good offense. So I’m just very happy with the way we played on the defensive side of the puck on Saturday, and good things happened because of it.”
The scorers of the game were Liam Hartman and Jordan Hoekstra with three points each, and Kyle Soper, Reade MacInnis, Kyle Fischer, Shaun Pickering, Trent Lamarche and Nick Mercier with one point each.
It was an uneven start to the season, but Gerber is positive the team is getting on the right track.
“I think we have nine new faces in the lineup, so it’s going to take a little time. I’m really happy with the way the new guys to the lineup played. The veterans have to lead by example and show them to play 60 minutes every night, and just lead the way for these young guys,” said Gerber.
“I’m confident it will happen, it will get much better.”