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September 23, 2016
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It was a tight battle Friday night in the County, but in the end, the Wellington Dukes pulled off a well-earned 3-2 victory over the visiting Burlington Cougars.


The Dukes started off a little slowly in the first period, with the Cougars attack coming at goaltender Connor Ryckman feverishly. Burlington would catch a break just over four minutes in when Matt Kenney took an Anthony Baxter breakaway pass and roofed it over top shelf Ryckman’s glove hand. The London native’s fourth of the season was also assisted by captain Chris Cobham. Later on in the period, following a Tyler Riter penalty, Austin Labelle completed a tic-tac-toe passing play with Brayden Stortz and Nic Mucci for a powerplay goal to tie the contest up at one. The Belleville native’s tally was his first of the season. Mucci himself had a glorious chance to score earlier on in the period, falling to his knees and getting a point-blank shot off that got kicked out by Cougars’ netminder Mario Cavaliere’s left pad. The Dukes also could have had a few more goals, but posts and a crossbar got in the way. Shots favoured the Dukes 12-11 after 20 minutes.


A scoreless second period saw the Dukes control most of the play, getting several of their chances thwarted by Cavaliere. Arguably Wellington’s best chance – and Cavaliere’s best save – in period two came on a high wrist shot off the rush from Kitchener native Tyler Harrison that the Cougars ‘tender whipped his glove hand out on. The shot count was won by Wellington 15-7 in the frame.


Wellington got their first lead of the game relatively quickly in the third on a long point shot from captain Justin Bean. The Pickering native’s goal was his first of the 2016-17 campaign, assisted by Colin Doyle and Harrison. The Dukes broke away a bit about halfway through the period after some great work along the boards from Keegan Ferguson and Brett Schaefer. Ferguson took a hit to make a play, feeding to Schaefer, who then found newcomer Kyle Berry behind the icing line. He then funnelled the biscuit to Jackson Arcan, who made a slick forehand-to-backhand move and found mesh behind Cavaliere. The former AAA Minor Midget Barrie Colt’s second of the year proved to be the game-winner. Burlington wouldn’t back down without a bit of a fight however. A late powerplay goal from former Cobourg Cougar Matt Goeree with Stortz in the box with only 2:13 to go made things interesting, but it would be the closest Burlington would get in this game. The Dukes outshot Burlington 11-10 in the period and 38-28 for the game.


Another solid goaltending performance from Ryckman (26 saves), strong blueline performances from Bean, Ferguson and Nathan MacDuff among others and some timely offence were the highlights of this game. The Dukes are riding on a wave heading into the Governor’s Showcase in Buffalo, N.Y. next week and look to make it eight in a row by the end.


Wellington will play Tuesday night at 7:30 at the Harbor Center versus the Orangeville Flyers and then at 4:30 Wednesday afternoon against the Toronto Jr. Canadians. The Dukes will be back at home next Friday night versus the Kingston Voyageurs in an East division rivalry game. Get your tickets for what is sure to be an entertaining matchup!


Story by Brock Ormond

Photo: Jackson Arcan, #24 of the Wellington Dukes

Photo by Ed McPherson, OJHL Images

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