It was a rough weekend for the Jacks after another pair of losses to drop their season record to 4-5.
In Norwich on Friday the 13th, Wellesley fell 5-4, but Saturday and home ice were no luckier, as the team dropped a 3-0 decision to Woodstock.
Heading into the October 13 game against the Norwich Merchants, the pressure was on as both teams were in sore need of a win. The play got rough and the penalties mounted as both sides fought tooth and nail for each goal – and the high energy did not let off until the very end of the game.
Norwich drew first blood at 9:03 with the only goal of the opening period. And once they got the lead, they ran with it.
Just 1:46 into the second frame, the Merchants made it 2-0 on an unassisted play by Riley Monture. Both teams were racking up the penalties, resulting in an exchange of power plays. At 16:16, Kyle Soper potted the Jacks’ first on one of those power plays, with Nick Mercier and Shaun Pickering drawing assists. The Norwich team then came back with a power play of their own two minutes later to close out the middle frame with a 3-1 advantage. But, as the final period proved, it was still anyone’s game.
Well into the third, the penalties were still flying left and right, and the advantage was swinging back and forth between the two teams.
Nine minutes in, Mercier scored on the power play, with Spencer Brick in support. Norwich then gained the advantage and struck back with a marker of their own at 14:31. And then, once more, the advantage fell back to Wellesley, and Pickering scored with Mercier and Soper lending the assists at 16 minutes.
The game was now 4-3 in favour of the Merchants. The clock was winding down, and with 2:43 of the game left, the Jacks pulled goalie Ryan Hergott in a desperate gambit to even the count – and it worked, at least for a time. Pickering, with a power play and an extra attacker on ice, knotted the score 4-4 with less than a minute-and-a-half on the clock.
With the score tied, Wellesley put Hergott back into the net. However, with one minute left in the game Norwich scored again. Despite a last-minute push, including pulling Hergott back off the ice with only 13 seconds to go, the game ended at 5-4 in favour of the Merchants.
By the end of the game, Wellesley had had 11 power plays and scored all four of their goals with the advantage, while Norwich had seven of their own and scored twice.
Wellesley’s next game the following night against the Woodstock Navy Vets turned out to be much more even-tempered.
It started with a goal by the Navy Vets two minutes into the game, and this single goal would be the only change on the scoreboard for some time.
Moving into the second down 1-0, the Jacks could get nothing past the Woodstock team, and let nothing through themselves.
And that was how the scoreboard looked going into the final frame. There was still plenty of time for Wellesley to recover and even come out on top. The first sign of serious trouble, however, came 13 minutes in when the Vets scored their second goal of the game.
Things looked grim for the Jacks as the minutes ticked away, with the team unable to reply. With 1:50 left to go and the scoreboard frozen in place, the Jacks pulled their goalie like the night before, but this time the plan backfired. Woodstock was able to sweep the puck into the empty net, and the game ended in a 3-0 defeat for the Applejacks.
Suffering a four-game losing streak, the Jacks have taken a hit in the standings. The team tumbled to sixth place, just barely ahead of Norwich (3-5-1) but a larger distance behind New Hamburg (4-3-1-2).
The Applejacks next two games will be on home turf, with Friday night’s match-up against Paris (6-4-0-1) followed by a Saturday game against Burford (1-7). In both cases, the puck drops at 7:30 p.m.