Jacks post back-to-back wins over Mount Forest
Coach likes what he sees in preseason play, pointing to a good mix of players on the almost-solidified roster
ON THE ROAD AND at home, goals, and plenty of ‘em, were key as the Wellesley Applejacks posted back-to-back wins over the Mount Forest Patriots last weekend, 5-3 followed by 7-4.
In Mount Forest last Friday night, the visitors spotted the home team two goals before Brady Gerber, with a little help from Nick Mercier and Spencer Brick, replied only 36 seconds into the second period to draw within one.
That was followed by goals from Corey Restoule (Trent Lamarche and Nathan Schlupp) and Will Martin, from Liam Hartmen and Restoule, to wrap up the second, putting the Jacks up 3-2 over the hometown Patriots.
The momentum contin- ued into the third, seeing Restoule get his second of the game, unassisted. Followed by a power play marker by Alex Uttley, from Shaun Pickering and Tomas Azzano.
Mount Forest’s Blake Lewis scored the final goal of the third, but it was too little, with the Jacks skating away with a 5-3 victory.
Back in the township the following night, on the ice in St. Clements, the two teams traded goals in the first to keep things interesting.
Wellesley’s Gerber showed up to the game early with a goal from Azzano and Schouppe just a minute into play.
They were shortly answered by Patriots own Riley Cribbin, unassisted at the three-minute mark.
Zach Ribiero (Pickering and Uttley) broke the tie when he found the back of the net halfway through the first.
Mount Forest then responded with another of their own to make it 2-2 after 20 minutes.
The Patriot took the lead with yet another unassisted goal early in the middle frame.
Wellesley’s Garrett Schultz, from Mercier and Tyler Einwechter, evened things up again at 8:10, but were shortly answered back by a shorthanded goal from Mike Stefanelli (Butchart) of Mount Forest.
That was it for scoring from the visitors, however.
At that point, the Jacks had worn the Patriots down enough to see two goals – Nick Mercier from Soper and Pickering, and Gerber from Azzano and Mercier – to end the second.
It was all Jacks in the third, with Pickering, wearing the ‘A’, potting another pair, the first from Ribiero and Uttley, the second from Uttley, pacing the team to a 7-4 final.
“Building your team with speed and obviously talented guys makes a big difference. I think we have really done a good job this training camp and this offseason getting guys who can play that way who are fast that can play with talent and speed –it makes a big difference. As a staff, we are pretty happy with who we have signed here,” said head coach Brad Gerber. “I think we just kind of wore them down after the second period.”
Although the teams play in different leagues, the exhibition games gave the coaching staff the opportunity to see their team really compete in game play ahead of the season.
“Our team is pretty much put together now and it is just coming together real nice. It is just exhibition, but you know you can see how some of the guys play. We are excited about this group, and moving on we are excited for the season to start. It’s an exciting time, for sure,” he said.
For Gerber, it was especially refreshing to see the success of their hard work during the offseason in acquiring the right mix of players. But even more so to see the core leaders step up. Those wearing the letters secured no less than a third of the points in the two games.
“Going into the season here we knew we had a really great core of guys coming back. Some of these guys are in their third year now and you need that. Like I said, we are very happy with who we have signed here and in training camp, but you still need that core group of guys coming back and we are very fortunate having that,” he said. “Those guys are the leaders, all season long, and we will need them, for sure. There are going to be some tough times down the road, but those guys are capable and we will definitely be leaning on them.”
The Jacks will be back on the ice for their seasonopener in Woodstock on September 15.
The Wellesley Applejacks racked up a pair of preseason wins in a home-and-home series last weekend against the Mount Forest Patriots.