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

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - ALI WIL­SON

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.

[ALI WIL­SON / THE OB­SERVER]

The Welles­ley Ap­ple­jacks racked up a pair of pre­sea­son wins in a home-and-home series last week­end against the Mount For­est Pa­tri­ots.

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