The Wellesley Applejacks posted their first win of the PJHL preseason schedule Tuesday night, beating the Hanover Barons 4-3 in overtime at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira.
The win was revenge for a 5-4 loss on Friday in Hanover, which came on the heels of losses to the Mitchell Hawks and Dorchester Dolphins to open exhibition play on August 25.
“It’s starting to come together quite well. Their passion is much improved,” said club president Terry Brick of the slate of hopefuls, adding that the final lineup has not been decided yet.
A relatively slow start on Tuesday night saw the Jacks down 1-0 after the first period, having been outshot 14-10 by the visiting Barons. After Hanover scored first in the second, it was all Jacks for much of the remainder of the game. Warren Gorman, assisted by Zack Ribeiro and Nate Thibodeau, got Wellesley on the board at 8:07. Then Danny Ranson (Conner Bradley) made it a 2-2 game.
The tie would remain until past the halfway point of the third when Noah Benjamin gave the home side its first lead of the night, assisted by Ribeiro. But Hanover wasn’t through, scoring a few minutes later to knot it up at 3-3, which is where things would remain at the end of regulation time.
Gorman’s second of the night, assisted by Ranson, would be the difference-maker, giving the Jacks the preseason’s first taste of victory by a score of 4-3.
Shots were 50-30 in favour of the Jacks.
The win was a bit of tit-for-tat after Friday night’s one-goal loss.
Wellesley needed just one second to take the lead in the August 30 game, with Carson Wickie scoring on assists from Austin Cousineau and Bradley. But the ink was barely dry on the scoresheet when Hanover tied the game just 34 seconds later, then took a 2-1 lead at 1:07.
It would be another five minutes before the red light came on again, as Ribeiro (Nolan Hislop, Colton Quipp) scored a power play goal to lock the score up at 2-2, where it would remain until the buzzer sounded.
Wellesley wasted no time when play resumed, however, making it 3-2 just 40 seconds into the middle frame. The goal went to Shaun Pickering, with assists to Baker and Ribeiro. That lead would stand for most of the period until the Barons responded with two power play goals in less than a minute to close out the stanza with a 4-3 lead.
Both sides would trade goals in the third, Hanover taking a 5-3 lead before Pickering (Ribeiro, Baker) got the Jacks closer at 16:21. Wellesley ran out of time before a comeback could be mounted, however.
This weekend, the Jacks are back in action Saturday night (7:30 p.m.) at the Woolwich Memorial Centre to take on the Mount Forest Patriots. They wrap up the exhibition schedule in Dorchester Sunday evening, a 4:30 p.m. start against the Dolphins.
The Provincial Junior Hockey League regular seasons gets going September 14 when the Jacks travel to Tavistock to face the Braves. The following afternoon, the team is in Burford to take on the Bulldogs.