The Wellesley Applejacks fell to Tavistock 3-2 last Saturday night in a close game that saw a bevy of penalties and passionate play.
The Braves spent a total of 60 minutes in the penalty box on 16 infractions, while the Jacks spent a relatively short 26 minutes in the box on nine infractions.
The game started out in Wellesley’s favour, with Brenden Goran sinking an unassisted goal less than two minutes after the opening faceoff. The rest of the period was full of roughing, cross checking and tripping calls against both teams. Applejacks head coach Brad Gerber says with all those penalties, the power play was one of the most important parts of the game and is something the guys need to do a bit of extra work on.
“It was another tough loss,” he said. “I think our best chances came on our power play where we really control the puck on their end, but I am finding that we are just not getting our shots through, or we aren’t shooting as often as we should. It is nice to pass the puck around, it looks all fancy, but if you aren’t getting the pucks to the net, you aren’t going to score a goal.”
Wellesley was up 1-0 going into the second, but Tavistock quickly tied it up with a goal from Josh Borys, assisted by Angus Rowland, only 27 seconds after the start of the frame.
The game got even rougher in the next 20 minutes of play with a few fights between players and even officials. Tavistock’s Mackenzie Sealy was called on abuse of officials, game misconduct and inciting an opponent, resulting in two 10 minute penalties. Wellesley wasn’t without their time in the box either.
The Braves took note of a one-man advantage while Wellesley’s Justin Lebold was serving two minutes for holding. Jamie Shoemaker, helped along by Josh Borys and Jared Yantzi, got the puck past Jacks goalie Noah Leis, putting the team ahead going into the end of the second.
Re-signed player Alex Uttley tied it up with only a couple of minutes left in the period, with help from Brady Gerber and Joe Heath.
The game was tied heading into the third period –less eventful than the first 40 minutes of play. Only one penalty was called in the third, and although the Jacks fought hard, they couldn’t sink another puck. Tavistock’s Tyson Zehr got one past Leis, assisted by Brady Gerber and Andrew Bogdon.
The final buzzer sounded, leaving the Applejacks with another loss.
Gerber says the team wasn’t playing with a full roster, so that contributed to the final score.
“The guys were getting tired, worn down in the third period and you could see it,” he said. “It would have been nice to have a full bench and hopefully we will have that soon. We want to get some guys back from the injured list. Get some healthy bodies back.”
Last week, the Applejacks filled up their roster, adding two returning players. Gerber is hoping the addition of Uttley and Jake Wilkinson back to the team will make the difference.
“They both played for the Jacks last year, and by adding these two guys, it fills our roster, but it also gives us that experience that I think we were lacking,” he said. “We are a young team and having these two guys come in, I think that is going to be huge for us. We are quite pleased with those guys back in our lineup.”
Gerber says that before the team faces off against fourth place Ayr, they are going to have to buckle down and work hard after failing to capitalize on any of the power plays during Saturday night’s game.
“(We are) not getting pucks through to the net,” he said. “On our power play, we move the puck good enough, but we need to get more shots. To win in this league, you need a good power play, and we are going to be working on that for sure, and see if we can tweak a few things and get it ready for the weekend.”
The Jacks will be looking for treats rather than tricks Saturday night as they host Ayr in a Halloween match. Game time is 7:30 p.m.