Two hits and a miss characterized the Applejacks’ weekend, as the team faced down three opponents in under two days.
First up against the North Middlesex Stars in Kincardine for a Saturday matinee, the Jacks played a close game but ultimately fell 3-1, with a final empty-netter in capping off the match. Rest was not an option for the team, however, as they were back on ice the same evening for a second match against the home team – the Kincardine Bulldogs. This time, though, the game turned in their favour thanks to some last minute heroics from the Wellesley lineup, with a 3-2 decision. A final matinee the following day against the visiting Firebirds from neighbouring New Hamburg saw the Jacks post a 4-0 shutout.
The preseason over, the Applejacks will be on the road this coming weekend for their first two matches of the regular season.
Playing first against North Middlesex, the Jacks fell to the West Yeck Division team, despite a late-game rally.
There was no scoring on either side until the second frame when the Stars potted their first of the match at the 5:30 mark. The opposing team soon doubled down on their lead, pulling ahead 2-0 before the second intermission.
Wellesley got their first chance to retaliate halfway through the final frame, with newcomer Warren Gorman (James Ranson) picking up the crucial point.
It was not enough to turn the game around, however, and pulling their netminder for that extra bit of firepower, the Jacks ended up conceding an empty-netter in the last two seconds of the game, making it a 3-1 loss.
Undeterred, the Jacks returned back on the ice just hours later to take on the Kincardine Bulldogs, and this time the game fell their way.
Proving his chops, Gorman opened the scoring 12-minutes in with his second goal of the day, with team veterans Alex Uttley and Kyle Soper picking up the assists.
It was the lone goal of the period, and the only marker on the board until the final frame of the match.
It was Kincardine who came back with a knotting goal just 43 seconds into the third. Wellesley’s Uttley (Brendan Baker, James Ranson) responded at the 10-minute mark, putting the Jacks again in the lead 2-1. But Kincardine wasn’t going down without a fight, and they tied up the game for a second time with less than five minutes to go.
At 2-2, the game was looking to go into overtime when Soper (Evan Gowing) came in for the deciding goal with only 1:40 to go, ending the game 3-2 in Wellesley’s favour.
Heading home from Kincardine that night, the Jacks had a night to recover before they were again back on the ice, this time at the St. Clements arena. Facing off against the Firebirds, which earlier in the preseason beat Wellesley 3-2, the Jacks this time had the game squarely in their corner.
It was a landslide victory, with Wellesley’s Will Martin (Baker) starting off the scoring two minutes into the second frame. The Uttley (Pickering, Soper) trio put a second marker on the board minutes later, and Soper came in for the third on an unassisted power play.
Up 3-0 and entering the final round of play, the Jacks capped off the game with a second unassisted goal from Zach Ribeiro.
Wrapping up the preseason with back-to-back wins, the Jacks will be looking to ride that momentum as they head into this weekend’s set of games. On Friday, the Jacks will be in Norwich to take on the Merchants in their first game of the regular season. The following night, the team will be paying a visit to the Delhi Travellers in a second away game.
As always, the Jacks won’t be playing for the home crowd until after the Apple Butter and Cheese Festival. The first home game is scheduled for October 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Tallying up the preseason session, the Jacks posted a record of 3-4 As always, though, the preseason was not being played for keeps, instead giving the new players on the team a chance to gel. Things start getting real, however, when the players hit the ice this weekend.