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Applejacks extend winning streak to three

Matt Caskanette takes defensive measures during game action against the Norwich Merchants on Saturday night in Wellesley, with the home side emerging victorious 4-2. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

The new year continues to be good to the Wellesley Applejacks, who picked up a pair of wins over the weekend to make them 3-0 in 2020.

A 4-2 win over Norwich on Saturday night was followed by a clear reason the Delhi Travellers are 0-32 this season, as Wellesley pasted them 23-1 the following afternoon.

The Jacks remain in second place in the PJHL’s South Doherty Division with a record of 22-5-1-4, their 49 points three back of the Tavistock Braves (24-5-3-1) with a game in hand. The Ayr Centennials are in third with 47 points (23-9-0-1).

Saturday’s game against the Norwich Merchants started off quietly, with no scoring and just two penalties during the first period. It was Wellesley that finally got things rolling, with Justin McCombs (Zach Ribeiro, Shaun Pickering) scoring during the second frame at 6:34 as the Jacks had an extra attacker on the ice.

Special teams were also involved in the rest of the night’s scoring.

Austin Cousineau kept the momentum going while the Jacks were at a disadvantage, scoring a shorthanded marker at 9:55. McCombs picked up an assist.

The Merchants replied on a power play at 11:05, then McCombs (Pickering, James Ranson) returned the favour while shorthanded at 15:23. Norwich wasn’t about to go down without a fight, taking advantage of another Wellesley penalty to cut the home side’s lead to 3-2 before the second intermission.

Play was decided rougher in the period, accounting for all the penalties and associated scoring.

Wellesley’s Pickering rounded out the night’s scoring with another power play marker just 41 seconds into the third period, with assists going to Troy Vandenbussche and Ranson. Most the action for the remaining 19 minutes and change involved treks to the box.

Shots were 45-37 in Wellesley’s favour, with netminder Duncan Rolleman picking up the win.

The following afternoon at the Wellesley arena it was no exaggeration to say the Jacks scored early and often in being anything but welcoming to the Delhi Travellers.

Kyle Fischer (Zachary Lyons) drew first blood at 1:24, then Lyons scored a goal of his own at 2:24. Carson Wickie and Ribeiro grabbed the assists. Pickering (McCombs, Daniel McCutcheon) kept the streak going at 4:08, then the next goal came from Koby Seiling (Lyons) at 7:24.

Fischer (Gianfranco Commisso) scored once again at 9:28, followed by Pickering (McCombs, Connor Bradley at 11:22. The next goal went to Koby Seiling at 14:27, with the assist going to Wickie. Fischer obtain a hat trick, unassisted at 15:52, then Commisso (McCombs) wrapped up the first-period scoring at 17:43.

As the teams headed back to the room, it was 9-0 for the Applejacks.

Though the game was essentially over at that point, both teams appeared for the second. It was once again all Wellesley. McCombs (Pickering) kept the ball rolling with a goal at 2:13. The next goal came courtesy of McCutcheon (Wickie) at 6:17. Pickering achieved a hat trick at 7:45, with McCombs and Matt Caskanette picking up the assists. Steven DeGroot joined in on the frenzy at 8:58, with assists going to Ribeiro and J. Ranson. Lyons (Wickie) kept the heat on Delhi with yet another goal at 12:12, and the next came off the stick of McCutcheon (Keegan Saunders, DeGroot) at 13:26. Pickering scored the final goal in second at 18:28. Assists went to Commisso and McCombs.

It was 16-0 after 40 minutes.

Despite all the heavy scoring action, players kept it clean, with only three penalties doled out throughout the course of the match. Delhi managed to score one lone goal at 4:28, though any celebration of avoiding a shutout was short-lived, as DeGroot (Commisso) responded at 6:32; Seiling joined the hat trick brigade at 8:05, with the assist going to Kyle Fischer. McCombs (Fischer, Caskanette) scored shortly afterwards at 8:44, then Fischer potted a goal of his own at 9:10. Assists went to Wickie and Caskanette.

Wellesley didn’t let up, barely giving the floundering Travellers a chance to breathe. Lyons (Ribeiro) made it 21-1 at the 10-minute mark, then Wickie (DeGroot) potted one at 14:18. McCutcheon scored the final goal of the match, simultaneously achieving at a hat trick, at 16:50. The assist went to Seiling.

When the buzzer sounded, it was 23-1 for the home team, which outshot the visitors 79-10. All of the scoring was 5-on-5, as the Jacks were 0-2 on the power play, and Delhi was 0-1.

The Jacks are on home ice Friday night (8 p.m.) to welcome the Mounties (18-13-2-1) before heading to New Hamburg Saturday night to take on the Firebirds (14-14-3-3) at 7:30 p.m.

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