It’s official: the Applejacks are unbeatable on home ice. Whether buoyed by the crowd or the home cooking, the Junior C squad has yet to lose a single game at the Wellesley arena.
Continuing that trend last weekend, the Jacks first hammered the visiting Burford Bulldogs on Friday in a landslide 13-1 victory. The following night, the Wellesley team claimed another victory against the New Hamburg Firebirds, its first win against the neighbouring team this season.
The string of victorious home games have pushed the Jacks to third place in the South Doherty division, just behind the Tavistock Braves and the first-place Firebirds.
Taking to home ice November 2, the Jacks kicked-off their weekend with a thrashing of the visiting Burford Bulldogs.
It was apparent early on which way things were going to go. The Jacks controlled the play from the puck drop, scoring just two minutes in and never looking back. The home team was up 6-0 before the Bulldogs responded for the first and only time to close out the opening period.
Tyler Schwindt got things rolling at 2:03, assisted by Robert Colton and Will Martin. Four minutes later, Peter Cascagnette (Alex Uttley, Shaun Pickering) made it 2-0 on a power play. Goals soon followed from Zach Ribeiro, Colton, Pickering and Nolan Hislop before Burford responded to make it 6-1.
The visitors’ late-period goal denied Wellesley goaltender Bryce Dettweiler a shutout, but did little to turn the game in their favour.
In the second, the Jacks struck five more times, starting with Colton’s second of the game just 41 seconds in. Pickering scored again, with Schwindt recording a hat trick before James Ranson scored to make it 11-1 going into the second intermission.
There was no fight left in the Bulldogs when play resumed, and the Jacks may have taken their foot off the gas somewhat, putting up just two more goals: Schwindts’s fourth at 5:36, assisted by Colton and J. Ranson), and Ribeiro’s second at 11:21, with helpers going to D. Ranson and Hislop.
Burford was still getting slammed by penalties over the final period, but Wellesley too began to take a hit. A brawl broke out halfway through the frame, sending four players – two from each team – to the showers. The penalties may have slowed the Jacks’ scoring blitz down for those final 20 minutes, but did nothing to help the Bulldogs, who by now were on the unflattering end of a 13-1 defeat when the game finally ended.
In every category this game, the Wellesley Applejacks proved the superior team. In shots on the opposing net, the Applejacks were 66 versus the Bulldogs 13. In power plays, the Jacks played the more disciplined game as well, scoring on three of 10 man-advantages. The Bulldogs, by contrast, were 0-2.
Coming off Friday’s success, the Jacks knew they couldn’t get cocky as they faced the New Hamburg Firebirds the following night. At each of their previous two meetings, the Jacks were narrowly defeated by the Firebirds in one-point games.
Still, this time around the Jacks were playing with the home advantage. Saturday was their first meeting of the season on Wellesley ice, and the Jacks proved to be just as unwelcoming a host as their New Hamburg competitors.
Opening the scoring at Saturday night’s game, with the lone point of the frame, was Applejack Jordan Hoekstra, 10:45 into the first, with Uttley and D. Ranson picking up assists.
The second followed the same pattern, only this time it was New Hamburg’s James Thorpe who potted the lone goal, 18:20 into the frame.
The teams were at a dead-even 1-1 heat as they entered the third and final stanza of the game, and both were making a dash for the tie-breaking goal. Ultimately, they got two.
The first tie breaker came off the stick off Zachary Lyons (Cascagnette, J. Ranson) on a power play, 13:23 in.
The scoreboard was now 2-1 in Wellesley’s favour, and looked to stay that way until the final 40 seconds of play, when both teams saw the game swing wildly back and forth between the two.
New Hamburg’s Cedrik Roth scored at 19:17 with an extra attacker in the wing, tying up the game for a second time. Wellesley’s Lyons (Ribeiro) responded 31 seconds later, at 19:48, putting the Jacks back on top at 3-2.
And then, just for good measure, the home team’s Uttley potted a final goal on an empty net with just eight seconds left on the clock. That sealed the deal, giving them a 4-2 victory over their previously unbeatable rival.
Special teams proved to be the wildcard of this match, as the Jacks earned just two man-advantages over the 60 minutes and scored once, while New Hamburg received six opportunities, yet scored on none.
With another four points garnered on home ice, the Jacks will be hoping for a repeat performance this weekend as they take on first the Delhi Travellers Friday at the Wellesley arena. The following night, the team will be heading to Paris for a match against the Mounties. The puck drops for both games at 7:30 p.m.