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September 30, 2016
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Wellington Dukes Head Coach and General Manager Marty Abrams worked hard to get his number one goaltender in the summer and has reaped the benefits of his success so far this season.


Connor Ryckman’s 46 save performance Friday night in a 4-1 victory over the Kingston Voyageurs further reinforced his coach’s decision.


Following a pre-game ceremony in which Abrams was honoured for coaching his 1000th Ontario Junior Hockey League game last Friday, Ryckman showed no rust in making several key saves off Kingston’s big guns in the first frame. The Vees hammered 18 pucks on the Wellington goal to the Dukes six, but all were turned aside in a scoreless period.


Despite being heavily outshot early on, it would be the Dukes that would draw first blood under five minutes into the second. Brayden Stortz’s first of two goals on the night was a easy one, as he buried a rebound off a Nathan MacDuff into a wide open cage. Nic Mucci drew the secondary assist on Stortz’s ninth of the year. The goaltending duel continued through the rest of the period, with the shots favouring Kingston again 13-10.


Stortz got the ball rolling just a minute into the third after a slick set-up from Tyler Harrison and Mucci with his 10th of the season. Kingston wouldn’t back down however, and they struck a few minutes later with Harrison in the box for slashing. Rob Clerc buried his second of the season on a rebound following a strange bounce off the corner glass. Connor Cobbold and Anthony Firriolo drew assists. The Dukes restored their two goal lead on an improptu tic-tac-toe play started out by some good work down low from Brody Morris. Mucci tried to connect with Stortz for a one-timer, which Stortz fanned on, but the puck directed straight to and he did the rest. Morris’ marker was his first of the season. The Voyageurs went to work after that, getting several golden scoring opportunities that were turned aside by Ryckman. Justin Bean put the game on ice with a shorthanded empty net goal from Stortz, his third of the season. The Dukes win was sealed, but their goaltender’s night was not done just yet. On the same powerplay, Ryckman slid across and robbed Cobbold of a goal not once, but twice on the same sequence. Those saves ended up being the two biggest stops of Ryckman’s night.


Wellington rebounded well to finish September after a tough loss Wednesday, with Ryckman and Stortz (4 points) leading the way once again. The Dukes will finish off their weekend with a date with the Markham Royals at 1:30 p.m. at the Markham Centennial Centre to start the month of October.


Story by Brock Ormond

Photo: Connor Ryckman #1 of the Wellington Dukes was lights out on Friday night, stopping 46 of 47 shots in a 4-1 win over their East Division rival, the Kingston Voyageurs. 

Photo by Shawn Muir, OJHL Images

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