The Wellesley Applejacks gave their fans something to cheer about, winning both of their games on the home-opener weekend. The team defeated the Woodstock Navy Vets 3-1 Saturday, followed by a 5-2 win over the visiting Norwich Merchants the following day.
The four points boosted the team’s place in the standings, moving to third from sixth in the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s South Doherty division. The Tavistock Braves occupied top spot, followed by the New Hamburg Firebirds in second.
The back-to-back wins also broke a pattern that had seen the Jacks split their weekend games.
The first game against the Navy Vets on Saturday started off relatively uneventful – there was no scoring or penalties by either team in the first period. Things got a little more interesting in the middle frame, resulting in a penalty by both teams and a single goal by the Navy Vets, with a little over a minute left in the period. This left the Applejacks down 1-0 as the teams returned to their rooms at intermission, but the hosts handled themselves well when play resumed.
Just 41 seconds into the third, the Jacks got a goal from Warren Gorman, with assists going to Danny Ranson and Kyle Soper, followed by another goal from Reade MacInnes (Jordan Hoekstra, Shaun Pickering) at 5:01. It remained 2-1 Wellesley until Pickering scored into an empty net with less than 30 seconds to go, assisted by Alex Uttley.
Wellesley outshot the visitors 39-26.
The Jacks faced off again on home ice Sunday afternoon, looking to keep up the momentum from that 3-1 victory. They proved to be successful, with the second game starting off a little more action-packed than the previous contest.
The Jacks drew first blood, with Gorman (Zach Ribeiro, Ranson) scoring at 7:48. The Merchants evened the score less than seven minutes later, with the Jacks regaining the lead a shortly thereafter to take a 2-1 lead into the first break.
It was all Wellesley in the second period, with Pickering setting the tone courtesy of a goal just 37 seconds in, assisted by Ranson and Uttley. At 7:11, Uttley made it 4-1 on a feed from Pickering and Hoekstra. It was Uttley again at 14:27, this time helped by MacInnes, Peter Cascagnette, who made it a 5-1 game.
The Merchants got one back in the third, but it was the lone scoring play of the period. The final score was 5-2.
Shots were 41-28 for the home team.
The Applejacks are hoping for a similar result this weekend as they continue a homestand after opening the season on an extended road trip. They have two more games in the welcoming confines of the Wellesley arena, welcoming the Paris Mounties Friday night (7:30 p.m.) before taking on the Delhi Travellers in a Sunday matinee (2 p.m.).