It was a middling sort of week for the Wellesley Applejacks as the team kicked off the regular season with a win and a loss.
Opening the season on the road with a matchup against the Norwich Merchants September 14, the Jacks battled the home team to a standstill before dropping a 5-4 decision in overtime. Unshaken, the Jacks were back at it the following night in Delhi, where they swept the floor with their hosts, the Travellers, in a 15-0 rout.
The split pair puts the Jacks just behind the Paris Mounties and New Hamburg Firebirds, which both picked up two wins in their first week of the season.
Playing Norwich for their first match of the 2018-19 season. Wellesley took an early lead in the game before ultimately falling in OT.
Right out of the gate, they came swinging. Applejacks’ Reade MacInnis (assisted by James Ranson and Jordan Hoekstra) drew first blood on the power play, just 4:30 into the game.
The point was followed up by a second from Kyle Soper (Warren Gorman) at the 7-minute mark, this time with the team down a man to the box.
Two minutes later, the Merchants got their first chance to respond on the power play, but Wellesley was able to return the favour with twice the force, scoring another two goals before the first intermission. Alex Uttley (Tyler Schwindt, James Ranson) on the power play at 11 minutes, and then newcomer James Ranson with an unassisted marker at 13:20.
The Jacks were in the lead 4-1 when the second frame rolled around, but it was at this point the game started to turn. Norwich put two more on the board, including a power play goal, over the next 20 minutes, turning the game into a one-point affair before the second intermission.
The knotting goal came 12 minutes into the final frame, with the Merchants’ Seth Lamoure potting an unassisted marker and forcing the game into overtime.
Despite some back-and-forth, it was ultimately Norwich that clinched the game-winning goal, 6 minutes into overtime, with an unassisted goal from Blake Pow.
In the special teams category, the teams were evenly matched in goals, but Wellesley ceded more opportunities to their opponents. The Applejacks were 2-5 to the Merchants’ 2-7.
Taking their loss in stride, the Applejacks were again on the road the following night, this time to Delhi to take on Travellers. This time Wellesley’s lead was insurmountable.
The visitors were already up two points before the game was a minute old, and the Jacks picked up another pair before the first intermission.
Keeping up the momentum in the second frame, Wellesley put another six goals on the board over the next 20 minutes. The final frame saw the Jacks add five more to the total for good measure, rounding out the game at 15-0.
Leading the scoring frenzy was Shaun Pickering (4), followed by James Ranson (3), Alex Uttley (2), Tyler Schwindt, Jordan Hoekstra, Warren Gorman, Kyle Soper, Tyler Schwindt and Keegan Saunders. The shutout belonged to the Applejacks’ new goalie, Kailem Chappelle.
Now firmly into the regular season, the Jacks will be looking keep up a strong front as they head into this week’s pair of games. On Friday, the Applejacks’ will be in Tavistock to challenge the Braves. On Sunday, the Wellesley team will be hitting the road again, this time to take on the Burford Bulldogs. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. in both cases.
As always, Jacks fans will have to wait a bit longer before the home games start up. The first is scheduled for October 13 at the Wellesley arena.