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November 17, 2016
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The resurgence of their offensive stars gave the Wellington Dukes a much needed two points in a 4-1 victory Thursday night in Stouffville over the Spirit.


Brayden Stortz's 18th goal of the season, coming just over halfway through the second period on a powerplay, was the game-winner, snapping a two game stretch without a point.


The Dukes did not get the start they wanted, with Stouffville getting on the board first on a Brett McInall goal in the first period. Tyler Kulba and Joseph Visconti drew the assists. The Spirit also threw 20 pucks at Connor Ryckman in net, but the Minesing native was sharp and kept the deficit within just the one goal.


However, a three goal resurgence for the Dukes in the second frame pushed them ahead to stay. Mitchell Mendonca smacked home his eighth of the year on a rebound to tie things at 6:40. Newcomer Mitchell Martan, over from West Kelowna in the British Columbia Hockey League, picked up his first of two helpers on the night and captain Justin Bean helped out as well. The stage was set for Stortz's game winner following a Joseph Teofilo hooking minor. Stortz found the back of the net behind Spirit goaltender Aaron Taylor on a nice backdoor dish from partner-in-crime Nic Mucci. Martan drew the other assist on the goal with 30 seconds to spare in the infraction with just under nine minutes left in the period. Brooklyn, Michigan native Kyle Prendel then added some late insurance with his first goal of the season and first as a Duke from Brent House and Brett Schaefer at 18:49. The marker was a product of some hard work by both Schaefer and Prendel to jar the puck loose from the Spirit defence and for House to find a streaking Prendel diving to knock the puck in. The Dukes also turned themselves around on the shot clock, firing 17 shots at the Stouffville goal compared to seven for the Spirit.


The steady play of the Dukes continued into the third as they went into defense-mode to protect the lead. House iced the game into an empty net with 1:03 to play for his 10th of the season, with Mucci and Stortz assisting. Shots favoured Wellington again, 10-6 for a 35-33 total edge. 


The Dukes get off to a strong start to a busy weekend with the solid road victory, improving to 14-7-1-2 on the year, with 31 points. They will now move on back home to face two tough East Division opponents. Friday night will see RBC Cup hosts Cobourg come into town to face Wellington for the third of four times this season. Then on Sunday, it's the high-powered Whitby Fury unit that strolls into the county to face the Dukes for game number two of four. Both game should be highly entertaining, so don't miss them! If you can't come out to the rink, 800 CJBQ will have play-by-play for both games, starting at 7:20 with Jack Miller on Friday and at 1:50 Sunday with David Foot.


Story by Brock Ormond

Photo by Ed McPherson, OJHL Images

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