Jacks earn two con­vinc­ing wins over the week­end

Team led from the get-go in 6-2 vic­tory against vis­it­ing Delhi, but had to over­come slow start to beat New Ham­burg 5-2

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - FAISAL ALI

THE APPLEJACKS WEREN’T GRACIOUS hosts last week­end, but the fans were more than happy to see back-to-back wins, first over Delhi then New Ham­burg.

The Trav­ellers fell 6-2 on Fri­day night, with the Fire­birds go­ing home as 5-2 losers the fol­low­ing evening.

On Oc­to­ber 27, the Jacks opened the scor­ing within the first three min­utes and never looked back. An early Delhi penalty al­lowed Corey Restoule to score on the power play, with Nick Mercier and Ni­cholas Bi­gioni lend­ing the as­sist.

From there, less than a minute later, Thomas Az­zano (Kyle Soper, Brady Ger­ber) pot­ted the team’s sec­ond goal of the match. The score­board hit 2-0 just four min­utes ten sec­onds into the first frame.

“I felt like we played OK tonight. It was def­i­nitely not our best game but it’s nice to al­ways come out with the two points, for sure,” said Ap­ple­jack Reade MacIn­nis af­ter the game.

Delhi got one back a cou­ple of min­utes later to pull to within one, which is where things sat for much of the pe­riod as the two teams set­tled into a rhythm be­fore Ni­cholas Bi­gioni (Alex Ut­t­ley, Shaun Pick­er­ing) scored in the fi­nal few min­utes to make it 3-1 go­ing into the break.

For the next 20 min­utes of play, the Jacks dom­i­nated on the ice if not on the board. They threw 17 shots at the Trav­ellers, scor­ing once on the power play – Ut­t­ley, from MacIn­nis and Trent La­marche – while al­low­ing the visi­tors just three shots of their own.

En­ter­ing the fi­nal frame up 4-1, the Jacks pressed their at­tack with two more goals within a minute. MacIn­nis (Ut­t­ley, Pick­er­ing) placed the puck in the net at 4:01, and Zach Ribeiro (Soper, Kyle Fis­cher) fol­lowed at 5:04.

Delhi got one back on the power play, but the out­come was never in doubt at that point. The fi­nal was 6-2.

“We scored on our op­por­tu­ni­ties tonight, but we ob­vi­ously need to tighten up our own end and some neu­tral zone play. I think the ef­fort was there, we just got a lit­tle sloppy at times,” said as­sis­tant coach Brock Ger­ber af­ter the game.

“Ob­vi­ously, get­ting the win was a good thing. I thought the guys played three good pe­ri­ods, stuck with what we talk about, stuck with the pro­gram, and played the game the way we wanted,” said head coach Brad Ger­ber.

“We stayed with it. We played a pa­tient, pa­tient game, so things worked out”

Go­ing into Satur­day’s with a big “W” in the week­end’s books, the Jacks were able to dou­ble down on the suc­cesses of the pre­vi­ous night. While they blew away the com­pe­ti­tion, it could have eas­ily gone the other way with the New Ham­burg Fire­birds run­ning with the lead for the first half of the game.

Nine min­utes into the open­ing stanza, New Ham­burg drew first blood on the power play in what would be the only point of the pe­riod. It was a bad start for Welles­ley that only got worse as the sec­ond pe­riod opened, with the Fire­birds pot­ting their sec­ond at 6:29.

Trail­ing 2-0 half­way through the game, the Jacks went on the of­fen­sive in what would be a stun­ning about-face. Mercier pot­ted the team’s first marker, Ut­t­ley and Pick­er­ing pro­vid­ing the as­sists. Thirty sec­onds later, the trio scored yet again, with Mercier tak­ing point.

Then, not even ten sec­onds later, Restoule picked up an unas­sisted goal.

In the span of 44 sec­onds, the Jacks turned the game up­side down by tak­ing a 3-2 lead.

“The game turned around pretty quick,” said head coach Ger­ber. “We kept say­ing, ‘just keep work­ing hard, even­tu­ally it’s go­ing to hap­pen. Once we get one, we’ll get an­other one.’ I never ex­pected to get three that quick but it’s al­ways nice – it re­ally lifted us and the guys played with a lot more con­fi­dence once we got those three goals.”

Buoyed by the dra­matic turn of events, the team pushed the at­tack while shut­ting down their op­po­nents for the rest of the match.

At 18:11, Pick­er­ing (La­marche, Ut­t­ley) took it to the net for yet an­other goal, clos­ing the frame 4-2 in favour of the Jacks. The third was a lit­tle less spec­tac­u­lar, but with three min­utes left on the clock, Welles­ley got one last goal with Ut­t­ley (Fis­cher) sweep­ing the puck into an empty net, end­ing the game at 5-2.

Even with the two wins, the Applejacks (7-6) are cur­rently sit­ting in fifth place in the stand­ings, a com­fort­able dis­tance ahead of Nor­wich (5-8-1), but sev­eral paces back of Paris (10-4-0-1).

The next two games will see the Jacks first back on the road for a late evening match up to­day (Nov. 2) against the first-place Ayr Cen­ten­ni­als (14-2).

“Ob­vi­ously they’re the two-time Sch­malz Cup cham­pi­ons so it’s al­ways fun to play those guys,” said Ger­ber.

“We’re go­ing to have to bring our good game. We’re go­ing to have to work hard and stay dis­ci­plined. I mean their power play al­ways seems to hurt us ev­ery time we play them. So if we can stay out of the penalty box, I be­lieve if we play 5-on-5, we can play with them. But, yeah, we have to stay dis­ci­plined and stay away from the penalty trou­bles,” he said.

The Jacks are home on Satur­day night to take on the Nor­wich Mer­chants.

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

Applejacks Gar­rett Schultz (in­set) and Ni­cholas Bi­gioni in game ac­tion against Delhi Fri­day night.

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

Kyle Soper con­trib­uted two as­sists against the Delhi Trav­ellers Fri­day night as the Jacks won 6-2.

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