With just one game left heading into the Christmas break, the Wellesley Applejacks sit in second place in the South Doherty Division of the Provincial Junior Hockey League.
The team is coming off a pair of wins last weekend, a 4-3 decision in New Hamburg December 16, followed by a 4-1 final at home against Hespeler on Saturday.
The Jacks are 19-5-1-1, their 40 points six back of the division-leading New Hamburg Firebirds (22-3-1-1). They sit nine points ahead of both the Norwich Merchants and Tavistock Braves.
On the road Dec. 16 night, the Jacks staked a 3-0 lead in the first period, but relied on a late goal to finally take the win.
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Isiah Katsube opened the scoring seven minutes into the first period, with assists going to Dimitri Eleftheriadis and Tyler Bender. Adam Hoff made it 2-0 for the visitors at 13:41 with some help from Kyle Baker and Koby Seiling. And less than a minute later, the Jacks were up by three courtesy of Seiling’s goal, assisted by Hoff and Baker.
New Hamburg got one back with less than a minute remaining in the frame, but the lift from a late-period goal paid delayed dividends: there was no scoring at all in the second and the Firebirds didn’t get another until almost nine minutes into the third to make it a 3-2 game. The home side made a real game of it with two and a half minutes to go in regulation, tying the score at 3-3, but Carson Wickie’s tenth goal of the year with just 31 seconds left on the clock put the game in win column. Assists went to Eleftheriadis and Baker.
Shots were 47-32 in favour of New Hamburg, who scored twice in four power-play opportunities, while Wellesley went 0-5. Goaltender Noah Bender stopped 44 to pick up the win.
Back at home in Wellesley Saturday night, the Jacks had something of a déjà vu – three goals in the first, no scoring in the second and one in the third – but the game played out differently, though the ‘W’ was the thing again.
The visiting Hespeler Shamrocks got on the board first, but that would be it for their scoring touch. Less than a minute later, at 12:36, Wickie tied it up, assisted by Seiling and Hoff. Thirty-six seconds later, the Jacks went ahead for good when Eleftheriadis scored, assisted by Justin McCombs and Tristan Romany.
It was 3-1 Wellesley when Seiling, from McCombs and Baker, scored on the power play at 16:38.
After some back-and-forth play for the next 40 minutes, Eleftheriadis (McCombs) put it away with an empty-net goal at 18:54.
The Applejacks are in Norwich on the night before Christmas Eve (Friday) before taking a break for the holidays. They’re next in action January 6 when they welcome the seventh-place Paris Mounties (1-22-1-2) to the Wellesley arena. The following night, they play host to the Tavistock Braves.