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Friday, August 23, 2019

Jacks in tight in quarter-finals versus Grimsby

Wellesley down 2-1 heading into game four, with action set to return south on Friday

The Jacks may have been crowned as champs of the South Doherty Division, but the battle is far from over. Wellesley is now taking on the Grimsby Peach Kings from the South Bloomfield Division in the next stage of a run at the Schmalz Cup.

This series is the quarter-final round of the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) playoffs. It’s been a bit of a rough ride, as the team found itself down 2-1 going into Wednesday night’s game in Wellesley. Results weren’t available before press time.

The Jacks embarked on a mini road-trip for their first two matches of the series against the Peach Kings, which opened March 20 with a 1-0 win.

The first period of game one was low key, with the teams perhaps feeling out each other. There was no scoring, though the hosts outshot the visiting Jacks 12-6 (29-23 by game’s end).

The lone goal of the match came just 48 seconds into the middle frame when Shaun Pickering potted one unassisted.

They may have scored early, but not often, as neither team managed to get on the board for the remainder of the frame – or the game, for that matter. Tensions got higher and higher as the game went on, with the penalties increasing steadily as time rolled on.

Still, the Jacks held on and Kailem Chappelle got the shoutout during the Jacks’ first quarter-final appearance, stopping all 29 shots the Peach Kings threw at him.

Game two on March 22, also in Grimsby, wasn’t a high-scoring affair, either. Unfortunately, one goal wasn’t enough for the Jacks this time, as the team fell 2-1.

As with the first game, there was no scoring in the opening frame. It would be Grimsby, however, that broke the ice in the second period, taking advantage of a power play at 9:53. Kyle Soper returned the favour, also on a power play, by  potting one at 16:49. Daniel Tsiampas and Colton Culbert picked up assists. While there may not have been too much in the way of scoring, the penalty count skyrocketed during this frame, with 11 doled out between both teams.

Things were an even 1-1 heading into the third, but Grimsby took this one with a goal at 5:02 on a power play. Wellesley was unable to recover when the final buzzer went off, resulting in a 2-1 loss.

The teams shifted to Wellesley for game three on Saturday night, with fans packing the building. There was much more scoring, but not much for the home fans to cheer about, as Grimsby skated to a 7-3 victory.

This match featured scoring in the opening frame, with the Peach Kings getting on the board at 12:15. The Applejacks floundered against the attack, with two more consecutive power play goals going to Grimsby, one at 16:26, and another 18:19 unassisted. The Jacks went back to the room trailing by an uncomfortable 3-0.

Grimsby kept their scoring streak up in the second stanza – their fourth goal at 3:32, followed by another on a power play at 11:51 before Wellesley finally had the chance to retaliate.

Alex Uttley (Soper) took advantage of a power play at 14:01, followed up by Pickering (Uttley) at 15:56. Danny Ranson potted one more for good measure at 16:43, with Uttley and Pickering picked up assists. While the Jacks effectively dominated the period, it wasn’t enough to really cut the deficit. It was 5-3 after 40 minutes.

The third period was by far the roughest period between the two teams so far, with a total of 14 penalties. Special teams were at play early and often, and Grimsby scored two more with the man advantage. The Peach Kings potted two in quick succession – one at 8:08 and the next at 8:36, unassisted. The result was a 7-3 win for the visitors.

Game five sees the action return to Grimsby Friday night. Fan buses are available by contacting Chip Seiling at chip@van-del.ca. If necessary, game six will take place back in Wellesley on Sunday afternoon, with game seven booked for Monday night in Grimsby.

Veronica Reiner
Veronica Reinerhttp://www.observerxtra.com
Veronica Reiner is a Reporter Photographer for The Observer.

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