There’s no place like home as Jacks post pair of wins

Welles­ley un­seats Fire­birds from divi­sion’s top spot, has a chance to catch Tav­i­s­tock this week­end

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - VERON­ICA REINER

ONCE AGAIN PROV­ING THAT they are un­stop­pable on home ice, the Ap­ple­jacks dom­i­nated both games at the Welles­ley arena this past week­end.

First fac­ing off against the Ayr Cen­ten­ni­als on Fri­day, the Jacks came out on top by a fi­nal score of 4-2, fol­lowed by a 5-2 win on Satur­day ver­sus the New Ham­burg Fire­birds.

Satur­day’s win knocked the Fire­birds out of first place in the South Do­herty Divi­sion, which is now claimed by the Tav­i­s­tock Braves (17-2). While re­main­ing in third place, the Jacks (13-2-1-3) re­main within four points of the lead, and just two back of sec­ond­place New Ham­burg. They cur­rently have a solid five­point lead ahead of the fourth-place Wood­stock Navy Vets.

The race could be tighter still af­ter this week­end, in which the Jacks play a home-and-home se­ries against the Braves.

A pair of wins last week­end set the stage, how­ever.

Their first game against Ayr on Novem­ber 16 ini­tially got off to a rocky start, with the Cen­ten­ni­als draw­ing first blood early at 1:34. The Jacks re­turned the favour be­fore the in­ter­mis­sion, with a goal by Alex Ut­t­ley (Jor­dan Hoek­stra, Shaun Pick­er­ing) at 15:33. This made for an even match go­ing into the sec­ond pe­riod.

The game ap­peared to get rougher and rougher, with no­tice­ably more penal­ties from both sides as each at­tempted to gain the up­per hand. But it was Welles­ley that dom­i­nated the score­board. The team’s sec­ond goal came cour­tesy of Zach Ribeiro (War­ren Gorman, Reade McInnes) early on in the sec­ond frame. Hoek­stra (Ut­t­ley) scored an­other one at 6:14. This gave the Jacks a solid 3-1 lead headed into the fi­nal stanza.

Things were even more heated in the third pe­riod, with 16 penal­ties dis­trib­uted nearly evenly on both sides. But it was Ayr who scored the first of the frame, with Rob Grant pot­ting one unas­sisted on a power play at 7:35. Welles­ley got that back shortly there­after, how­ever, off the stick of Ut­t­ley (Sch­windt) at 12:36.

The score re­mained 4-2 un­til the buzzer. Shots were 43-35 in favour of Welles­ley.

The next day, the Jacks man­aged to keep the mo­men­tum go­ing, fac­ing off against the ri­val New Ham­burg Fire­birds. It was Ut­t­ley (Pick­er­ing, Kyle Soper) who drew first blood this time around at 3:16 of the open­ing pe­riod.

The Fire­birds replied just 40 sec­onds later to tie it, then took the lead four min­utes later. But that would be it for New Ham­burg’s scor­ing, how­ever.

Pick­er­ing tied it at 2-2 with a goal at 11:50, as­sisted by Ran­son and Ut­t­ley. Welles­ley took the lead for good on an unas­sisted goal by Zachary Lyons at 16:07, and then rounded out the pe­riod at 4-2 when Soper (Gorman) scored at 19:06.

As with the pre­vi­ous game, the of­fi­cials were busy in the third as they handed out penal­ties when tem­pers flared. Ul­ti­mately, two play­ers from each side were ejected with mis­con­ducts as the fi­nal sec­onds ticked down.

De­spite all the drama, Welles­ley’s Gorman man­aged to score the only goal of the frame at 17:50, a shorthanded marker into a empty net as his team played shorthanded. That sealed the deal at 5-2.

Shots were 33-31 in favour of Welles­ley.

The Jacks look to keep the mo­men­tum go­ing as they face Tav­i­s­tock twice this week­end, first on the road Fri­day night fol­lowed by a re­turn to the Welles­ley arena Satur­day night. Game time for both is 7:30 p.m.


The Ap­ple­jack’s Danny Ran­son faces off against the New Ham­burg Fire­birds at Satur­day’s game. The Jacks knocked the vis­i­tors out of first place with a 5-2 win.

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