Once again proving that they are unstoppable on home ice, the Applejacks dominated both games at the Wellesley arena this past weekend.
First facing off against the Ayr Centennials on Friday, the Jacks came out on top by a final score of 4-2, followed by a 5-2 win on Saturday versus the New Hamburg Firebirds.
Saturday’s win knocked the Firebirds out of first place in the South Doherty Division, which is now claimed by the Tavistock Braves (17-2). While remaining in third place, the Jacks (13-2-1-3) remain within four points of the lead, and just two back of second-place New Hamburg. They currently have a solid five-point lead ahead of the fourth-place Woodstock Navy Vets.
The race could be tighter still after this weekend, in which the Jacks play a home-and-home series against the Braves.
A pair of wins last weekend set the stage, however.
Their first game against Ayr on November 16 initially got off to a rocky start, with the Centennials drawing first blood early at 1:34. The Jacks returned the favour before the intermission, with a goal by Alex Uttley (Jordan Hoekstra, Shaun Pickering) at 15:33. This made for an even match going into the second period.
The game appeared to get rougher and rougher, with noticeably more penalties from both sides as each attempted to gain the upper hand. But it was Wellesley that dominated the scoreboard. The team’s second goal came courtesy of Zach Ribeiro (Warren Gorman, Reade McInnes) early on in the second frame. Hoekstra (Uttley) scored another one at 6:14. This gave the Jacks a solid 3-1 lead headed into the final stanza.
Things were even more heated in the third period, with 16 penalties distributed nearly evenly on both sides. But it was Ayr who scored the first of the frame, with Rob Grant potting one unassisted on a power play at 7:35. Wellesley got that back shortly thereafter, however, off the stick of Uttley (Schwindt) at 12:36.
The score remained 4-2 until the buzzer. Shots were 43-35 in favour of Wellesley.
The next day, the Jacks managed to keep the momentum going, facing off against the rival New Hamburg Firebirds. It was Uttley (Pickering, Kyle Soper) who drew first blood this time around at 3:16 of the opening period.
The Firebirds replied just 40 seconds later to tie it, then took the lead four minutes later. But that would be it for New Hamburg’s scoring, however.
Pickering tied it at 2-2 with a goal at 11:50, assisted by Ranson and Uttley. Wellesley took the lead for good on an unassisted goal by Zachary Lyons at 16:07, and then rounded out the period at 4-2 when Soper (Gorman) scored at 19:06.
As with the previous game, the officials were busy in the third as they handed out penalties when tempers flared. Ultimately, two players from each side were ejected with misconducts as the final seconds ticked down.
Despite all the drama, Wellesley’s Gorman managed to score the only goal of the frame at 17:50, a shorthanded marker into a empty net as his team played shorthanded. That sealed the deal at 5-2.
Shots were 33-31 in favour of Wellesley
The Jacks looks to keep the momentum going as they face Tavistock twice this weekend, first on the road Friday night followed by a return to the Wellesley arena Saturday night. Game time in both cases is 7:30 p.m.