The Wellesley Applejacks didn’t get much time off, but they certainly enjoyed Christmas week, gifting themselves three wins in games against Tavistock, Ayr and Burford.
The wins landed the team in third place in the South Doherty Division of the Provincial Junior Hockey League, their 44 points just four behind the second-place New Hamburg Firebirds and 11 behind the first-place Tavistock Braves. Wellesley opened up a bit of a cushion over the Paris Mounties and Norwich Merchants, both tied for fourth with 39 points.
The Jacks got things rolling by facing off against the Braves in Tavistock just prior to Santa’s big day, posting a 3-2 overtime decision on December 23.
It was the visitors that got on the board first, taking advantage of a power play at 7:40 of the opening period. That would be the only scoring play of the stanza, however.
There was a bit more action in the second, with the teams swapping goals.
Alex Uttley (James Ranson) scored Wellesley’s first goal of the game at 8:11, but the Braves were quick to respond with an unassisted goal less than a minute later. It was 2-1 Tavistock after 40 minutes.
James Ranson (Uttley, Shaun Pickering) managed to tie things up again by potting one at 5:10 in the third frame. Wellesley had plenty of chances, outshooting Tavistock 16-9 en route to a 34-28 advantage by game’s end, but couldn’t get another in regulation, sending the teams to overtime.
Things were tense but uneventful until Wellesley’s Daniel Tsiampas scored the game-winning goal at 1:53, with Reade MacInnes and Zachary Lyons picking up assists – the Jacks’ only lead all night was the one that mattered.
Following a four-day break for Christmas, the Jacks showed no ill effects from the turkey when they returned to the ice December 27 in Ayr.
Wellesley wasted no time getting on the board, with Shaun Pickering scoring just 19 seconds in the first frame. Uttley and Warren Gorman picked up assists. Ayr was quick to respond, however, taking advantage of their early power play and scoring at 4:38. Wellesley was determined to dominate this frame, with Gorman (Ethan Hebel, Jonathon Tsiampas) potting another goal at 6:01, and Pickering (Uttley, Gorman) scoring another at 18:50. This gave Wellesley a comfortable 3-1 lead.
The Centennials picked up the pace in the second, scoring just 35 seconds in on a power play. Wellesley gave up yet another goal on a power play at 9:53, before getting back on track at 12:04, with an unassisted goal by Jonathon Tsiampas. Ayr’s Jackson White responded quickly with an unassisted goal at 13:06, evening the scoreboard at 4-4 headed into the last period.
The Jacks kept their cool, with Gorman (Pickering, Uttley) potting one and regaining the lead at 7:27. James Ranson (Cole Bender, Danny Ranson) scored another one at 9:14 for good measure, resulting in the team’s 6-4 win.
Wellesley’s final game of the calendar year against Burford was considerably less even, as the Jacks gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about in an 11-0 pasting of the Bulldogs.
James Ranson (MacInnes, Danny Ranson) kicked off the match with a goal at 7:33, followed by Gorman (Uttley, Pickering) at 14:03. Tyler Schwindt scored an unassisted goal very quickly after, at 14:17. Uttley potted the final goal of the frame while shorthanded at 17:38, with Gorman and Bryce Dettweiler picking up assists.
Wellesley kept up the scoring frenzy headed into the second period, with Burford never getting the chance to come back. Gorman (Pickering, Colton Culbert) took advantage of the power play, potting a goal just 32 seconds in. Pickering (Uttley, Ethan Hebel) kept up the heat scoring another in under a minute at 0:57. Gorman obtained a hat trick, scoring his third goal of the game at 8:57, while the assist went to Shaun Pickering. Aiden Kruger scored the final goal of the stanza, with assists going to both of the Ransons – James and Danny – at 9:46.
The Jacks continued to tame the Bulldogs, keeping up the consecutive, uninterrupted goals throughout the final period. James Ranson (Koby Seiling, Krueger) scored another at 12:35, followed by a shorthanded goal by Uttley, with MacInnes and Pickering picking up assists. The final goal went to James Ranson, who also obtained a hat-trick throughout the course of the game, scoring his third goal on a power play at 18:59. Assists went to Pickering and Kyle Soper.
This wrapped up the game with a huge 11-0 win for the Jacks. Wellesley’s goalie, Bryce Dettweiler, obtained a shutout by saving all 23 of the shots he faced.
The Jacks look to keep up the winning ways in 2019, with three games this weekend. They’re in Delhi tomorrow night (Friday) to face the Travellers before returning home to welcome the Paris Mounties on Saturday at 7:30 p.m, then the Travellers on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.